California regulators adopted a controversial plan Friday that will increase electricity bills for those who use the least power. People with a household income under $27,400 should see monthly bills rise $5.84; those with household incomes ranging from $27,400 to $54,800 will see an increase of $4.59; those with incomes of $54,800 to $82,200 will see a $2.40 increase; households in the $82,200 to $137,000 range will see a 70 cent increase; and people with household incomes over $137,000 will see a reduction of $5.78 a month, according to estimates in a blog post by Severin Borenstein, public policy research associate with the Energy Institute at UC Berkeley. read more
The longtime suppliers to Whole Foods are complaining that the program called Responsibly Grown can grant a farmer who does not meet the stringent requirements for federal organic certification the same rating as an organic farmer, or even a higher one. Conventional growers can receive higher rankings than organic farmers by doing things such as establishing a garbage-recycling program, relying more on alternative-energy sources, eliminating some pesticides and setting aside a portion of fields as a conservation area.
The New York City Council passed legislation that bans most employers from discriminating against job applicants and current workers based on credit history. The bill passed Thursday by a vote of 47-3 and is being dubbed the strictest in the country. The bill's sponsor, Brad Lander, said credit checks can be discriminatory and don't relate to job performance. "Millions of Americans who have bad credit, would also be great employees," he said. "What they need to repair their credit is a job, and to make it harder for them to get a job is the definition of unfair." read more
For many Americans, the rise in food and housing prices is a tough squeeze. That's because -- even in an era with low overall inflation -- low-income Americans spend a disproportionate share of their money on food and housing. New data from the Labor Department show the extent of the discrepancy. The bottom 10% of Americans, by income, devote 42% of their spending to housing and an additional 17% to food -- nearly 60% of their total spending, according to the Consumer Expenditures Survey. By contrast, the wealthiest 10% of Americans dedicate only 31% of their spending to housing and 11% to food.