Biz Snaps

Kat Larsson, Copy Editor

• A nonpartisan, investigative arm of Congress is asking for the United States to stop printing dollar bills and switch to $1 coins instead. It’s believed it could save Uncle Sam money. A $1 coin typically costs about 30 cents for the U.S mint to produce but the government can sell them for a dollar each. In a period of about 30 years, it could save the U.S government about $4.4 billion. Though in contrast producing paper bills is cheaper, at about 5 cents apiece, but they wear out more quickly. They only last about 4.7 years as opposed to the coin’s 30 years.

• The top prize for the Powerball drawing is now approximately $550 million, which is the largest in the history of this multi-state lottery game. The price has risen in recent days due to more people than expected buying tickets. However, it is near certain that no one will win this $550 million jackpot. This is because the advertised prize, like most top prize rival Mega Million games, is the sum of annuity payments paid out over 29 years. If you were take the lump-sum payment option you would receive about $360 million before taxes.

• The U.S government temporarily banned oil giant BP from bidding on any new federal contracts. Among BP’s government contracts are hundreds of leases it has signed to drill for oil and gas in the U.S and agreements worth billions of dollars to supply the government with fuel. Luckily this ban does not impact their already existing agreements. This ban will remain in effect until the company can provide sufficient evidence to EPA demonstrating that it meets federal business standards. As a result of this shares, in BP fell, but they recouped most of their losses.

• The federal gas tax is used primarily to build and repair roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure. The tax raises about $32 billion a year, but that’s not enough. The government gives out about $50 billion a year to states and towns to help. The difference comes out of general funds or has to be borrowed; meanwhile the gas tax has not been raised since 1993. Raising the gas tax was one of the recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles debt reduction plan in 2010; it called for a 15 cent-a-gallon hike to the gas tax.

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