Economics & Economy

Online Family Budget Calculator

Sep 4, 2015

A new online budget calculator shows many Virginia working families aren’t making enough to get by.

The Economic Policy Institute’s budget cruncher takes local data on a variety of costs, including, food, housing, and health care, and then calculates the numbers for the household size.

Laura Goren with the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis says the calculator shows many families are fighting a big gap between what they make and what they need.

The calculator is available here.

The Department of Labor has recently implemented an online program aimed at distributing money that belongs to workers who may, or may not, know they’ve earned it. 

The Wage and Hour division of the U.S. Labor Department is currently holding over $1 million in back wages in Virginia that they say belongs to 2,800 workers throughout the state. Mary Doughty is the Director of Operations for the division, she says that money is left behind for a variety of reasons:

Virginia businesses are breathing a sigh of relief at the news that the current rate of jobless benefits claims is much lower than the very high number of claims during the recent recession.  This means they likely will NOT have to pay the higher amount of business taxes triggered by state law whenever the unemployment trust fund dips too low.

Earlier this month we aired a story from Sandy Hausman about AirBnB in Richmond - and how the home-sharing experience is, essentially, illegal there. Another Virginia city, however, has recently embraced the trend.

AirBnB has never exactly been ‘illegal’ in Roanoke, but when the idea of short-term rental was blooming, the City didn’t know what to make of it. River Laker was one of the first in Roanoke to register on AirBnB:

New Life for Tobacco Commission

Jul 23, 2015

In its 16 years, the Tobacco Commission has had a lengthy history of, well, slaps on the wrist. Created to distribute the state’s share of a national tobacco settlement in Southside and Southwest Virginia, members have been accused of playing a number of political and financial games under the guise of the commission’s intent. However, a few recent changes might have put the commission back on track.