The state spent $16.1 million less than budgeted and took in $20.3 million more in revenue than expected, according to preliminary financial figures.
The budget reserve and cash stabilization account was fully funded at $177 million and the R.I. Capital Plan Fund balance stands at $124.4 million.
The state has finished the fiscal year with a surplus in each of the last three fiscal years.
The fiscal 2011 surplus was $64.2 million
The fiscal 2012 surplus was $115.2 million
The fiscal 2013 surplus was $104.1 million
"I am proud that my administration has set a strong platform for the next governor," said Chafee. "For the last two years, my administration has submitted a balanced budget on time and now, due to the strong fiscal management exhibited by our state agencies, we can announce that this is the fourth year in a row with state agencies coming in under budget."]]>
In a new release, the nonprofit said it collaborated with local health care providers, health plans, state agencies and other stakeholders to develop communication standards. It then worked with 10 hospitals to monitor adherence to the guidelines.
Researchers said that auditing hospitals' adherence to the standards and providing staff with periodic reports comparing their facility's performance to the rest of group's progress "significantly" increased the rate at which hospital staff communicated necessary information to outpatient physicians.
Among the findings, the researchers noted:
Clinical information sent at discharge increased from 30 percent to 94 percent.
Hospital clinicians' contact information provided at discharge increased from 63 percent to 97 percent.
Notification of hospitalization increased from 82 percent to 87 percent.
The frequency that hospital staff scheduled follow-up appointments within one business day of discharge jumped from 55 percent to 90 percent.
"These communication processes seem very logistical and intuitive," said Rosa Baier, senior scientist at Healthcentric Advisors and lead author of the study. "Most people assume that this type of communication is already occurring, and are really surprised to learn how much it varies from one clinician to another, even at the same hospital. An intervention like this one allows staff to see how well their hospital is performing and then use that information to improve."
The study was funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Findings of the study were published in the Journal of Hospital Administration on Tuesday, Aug. 26.]]>
Household purchases decreased 0.1 percent after increasing 0.4 percent in June, Commerce Department figures showed Friday in Washington, D.C. None of the 79 economists in a Bloomberg survey projected a decrease. Incomes climbed 0.2 percent, the smallest monthly advance this year.
Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, has been held back by tight credit and meager wage growth that is barely able to keep up with inflation. A sustained labor market upswing is needed to lift earnings and help boost outlays at retailers such as Ross Stores Inc.
"It's a weak starting point for the third quarter," said Jacob Oubina, senior U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets LLC in New York. "It's going to lead to a markdown in third-quarter forecasts." RBC Capital Markets is the top forecaster of personal spending over the past two years, according to data collected by Bloomberg.
Other reports today showed consumer sentiment unexpectedly rose in August and manufacturing in the Midwest region picked up more than projected.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final sentiment index rose to 82.5 from 81.8 in July. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 80 after a preliminary August reading of 79.2.
The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc.'s business barometer rose to 64.3 this month from 52.6 in July. The median forecast of 44 economists in a Bloomberg survey projected the index would climb to 56.5. Readings greater than 50 signal growth.
Stocks were little changed heading into what's shaping up as the biggest monthly gain since February amid increasing speculation that global central banks will support economic growth. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined less than 0,.1 percent to 1,996.2 at 10:28 a.m. in New York.
Projections for spending in the Bloomberg survey ranged from little changed to a 0.4 percent gain. The June reading was unrevised. The Bloomberg survey median called for incomes to rise 0.3 percent.
Purchases last month dropped 0.2 percent following a 0.2 percent June increase after adjusting for inflation, the data used to calculate gross domestic product.
Spending on durable goods, including cars and trucks, declined 0.6 percent after adjusting for inflation, following a 0.5 percent advance in June. Purchases of non-durable goods, which include fuel and clothing, fell 0.2 percent.
Household outlays on services decreased 0.1 percent. The diverse category, which includes health care, utilities, tourism, and legal work, is difficult for the government to estimate accurately in the preliminary report.
Prices tied to consumer spending rose 1.6 percent in the year ended July, the same as in the prior month. Federal Reserve policy makers aim for price increases of 2 percent a year.
The core prices category, which excludes fuel and food, increased 0.1 percent in July from the prior month and was up 1.5 percent from a year ago.
Williams-Sonoma Inc. and Guess? Inc. are among merchants coping with a retail slump that has them relying on sales and other promotions to drive customer traffic.
At Ross Stores Inc., a discount retailer based in Pleasanton, Calif., traffic is flat and the number of transactions hasn't increased from a year ago. Consumers continue to be "under pressure," President and Chief Operating Officer Michael O'Sullivan said.
"It's pretty apparent that the low- to moderate-income customer is struggling," Sullivan said on an Aug. 21 earnings call. "We don't see a lot of evidence that that's going to change in the back half. We could be wrong, but we don't see a lot of evidence for that, and we expect the environment to remain pretty promotional."]]>
Pumpkin-spice lattes will go on sale at McDonald's Corp. restaurants in some regions starting Sept. 1 and at Starbucks Corp. cafes the following day. Starbucks, based in Seattle, is letting customers get the drink early this year by whispering a code - First PSL - to a cafe barista.
American's craving for pumpkin delicacies has become a seasonal ritual that's only grown in recent years. The success of the Starbucks lattes, which the chain started selling about a decade ago, has prompted a flood of pumpkin-flavored fare, including Pinnacle brand pumpkin-pie vodka from Beam Suntory Inc. and pumpkin-spice Jell-O from Kraft Foods Group Inc. Even pets are joining in, with Nestle SA's Purina touting the ingredient in its new dog chow.
"Pumpkin itself is a comfort food," said Bill Chidley, brand consultant at ChangeUp in Dayton, Ohio. "It's just a perennial favorite, like turkey at Thanksgiving, eggnog at Christmas, fireworks on Fourth of July."
U.S. pumpkin-flavored sales jumped 14 percent to about $308 million in 2013, according to Nielsen. The extra demand helped push pumpkin prices up 11 percent last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported in March.
New and seasonal food offerings have become a key strategy Starbucks and other restaurants use to boost sales. McDonald's began selling its pumpkin lattes last year, while Dunkin' Donuts has added pumpkin flavors to muffins, doughnuts and coffees.
Starbucks, which has about 11,700 U.S. locations, said last year that it had sold more than 200 million pumpkin lattes since the introduction in 2003. The world's biggest coffee-shop chain also is offering pumpkin scones, pumpkin cream-cheese muffins and Via pumpkin-spice instant latte drink mixes this year.
Other eateries are trying to compete with Starbucks' pumpkin lattes with new items. Dunkin' Donuts is rolling out pumpkin creme brulee coffee for this year, and Baskin-Robbins is introducing pumpkin-cheesecake flavored ice cream in September.
McDonald's is selling its pumpkin lattes this year only in certain regions "where it's right" for customers, including some locations in Atlanta and the Midwest, said Lisa McComb, a spokeswoman for the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company.
A small McCafe pumpkin latte costs $2.29, and diners can get it made with whole or nonfat milk. A small Starbucks pumpkin-spice latte with 2 percent milk and whipped cream has 300 calories and costs between $3.95 to $4.15, depending on the market.
Packaged-food companies are getting in on the action too. PepsiCo Inc.'s Quaker brand will offer a pumpkin and spice-flavored instant oatmeal for a limited time this fall, said Jay Cooney, a spokesman. General Mills Inc. will sell a half-dozen pumpkin-flavored products this season, including Betty Crocker cookie mix, Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and Yoplait yogurt.
Photos of Oreo Pumpkin Spice cookies have been popping up on Twitter and websites, with some people claiming to have tasted them. Mondelez International Inc., the company behind the iconic Oreo sandwich cookies, declined to provide details of the new product.
Pumpkin isn't just for humans anymore either. Purina said last month that it had introduced a salmon, egg and pumpkin blend of its Purina Beyond dry dog food.
Even if pumpkin risks overexposure, the trend isn't showing signs of going away, Chidley said.
"I don't think it has an expiration date, not in the foreseeable future," he said.]]>
"The results of these surveys are very encouraging, especially considering that as a family-owned business we are being rated against the some of the largest moving companies in the world," said Bridget Ritchie, executive director of global business development for Arpin Group in a release.
The survey collected data from more than 7,000 recently-transferred employees (representing 91 companies) over a one-year period, which ended June 30. Employees who were surveyed were given a standard set of questions and ranked their experience with the relocation service firm that they used on a 10-point scale (10 being the highest in satisfaction).
In addition to finding high customer satisfaction among Arpin Van Lines customers, the report also found that Arpin Van Lines has had a steady increase of customer satisfaction over the past seven years.
This year's high scoring firms in the five ranking categories were:
Household Goods Carriers: Budd Van Lines, Arpin Van Lines and Allied Van Lines
Relocation Management Services Companies: N E I, Weichert Workforce Mobility, Altair Global Relocation
Mortgage Providers: Quicken Loans, CitiMortgage and Chase
Spouse/Partner/Family Services: Ricklin-Echikson Associates
Temporary Housing Companies: National Corporate Housing, Nomad Temporary Housing, Oakwood Worldwide and SuiteAmerica
All of the companies listed had to fit two criteria: there had to be responses from at least 100 transferees, and they had to collectively work with at least five corporations.
Trippel Survey & Research, LLC is an independent research firm founded in 1994 by Alan Trippel. The organization's mission is to provide survey research and consultation for relocation professionals. The full 13-page report can be purchased at trippelsurvey.com.]]>
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index has added 3.6 percent in this month, poised for its best August performance since 2000. The benchmark gauge rose 0.3 percent to 2,000.01 as of 11:19 a.m. in New York. Volume was 39 percent below the 30-day average at this time of day.
Economic reports showed consumer confidence unexpectedly rose in August, while consumer spending dropped in July for the first time in six months. Euro-area inflation slowed this month to the weakest rate since 2009, increasing pressure on the European Central Bank to add stimulus. American equity markets will be closed on Sept. 1 for the Labor Day holiday.
"Investors' lack of exposure to equities is still what drives the market higher, along with valuations which aren't stretched," Paul Atkinson, head of North American equities at Aberdeen Asset Management PLC in Philadelphia, said in a phone interview. The firm oversees $551.4 billion.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 16.35 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,095.92. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.5 percent to 4,579.39.
With the U.S. headed into the Labor Day holiday weekend, the stock market has been experiencing the slowest trading in at least six years. Volume has been below 5 billion shares in each of the past eight days, the longest stretch in data compiled by Bloomberg going back to 2008.
U.S. household purchases decreased 0.1 percent after increasing 0.4 percent in June, Commerce Department figures showed. None of the 79 economists in a Bloomberg survey projected a decrease. Incomes climbed 0.2 percent, the smallest monthly advance this year.
Consumer confidence unexpectedly rose in August, showing a brightening in Americans' moods as the labor market gains traction. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final sentiment index rose to 82.5 from 81.8 in July. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 80.
In Europe, consumer prices rose 0.3 percent in August from a year earlier after a 0.4 percent increase in July, the statistics office in Luxembourg said. Unemployment remained at 11.5 percent in July, Eurostat said in a separate report. ECB President Mario Draghi said in a speech at a conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., that inflation expectations have deteriorated in the euro area and signaled policy makers are ready to add fresh stimulus.
"The ECB meeting is next week and Draghi kind of precommitted at Jackson Hole when he started talking about inflation being below their desired range," Paul Zemsky, the New York-based head of multi-asset strategies at Voya Investment Management LLC, which oversees $213 billion, said by phone. "If they don't do something different, global markets will be disappointed."
Avago Technologies Ltd., a semiconductor-device supplier, climbed 8.6 percent to $82.94 for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after it reported earnings that topped estimates.
Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., a clothing retailer, slid 8.2 percent to $2.11 after projecting losses in the third quarter that were deeper than analysts' estimated.
Veeva Systems Inc., the provider of cloud-based business services, jumped 20 percent to $29.88. It boosted its year-end earnings prediction and reported second-quarter earnings that beat estimates.]]>
PROVIDENCE - The fiscal year of 2014 showed an uptick in hospitality and tourism spending in the Ocean State, as collections for both the meal and beverage tax and both hotel taxes posted increases over fiscal 2013.
The 1 percent meal and beverage tax collected increased 4.6 percent on the year to $22.3 million, the first time that the amount was greater than $22 million, according to the R.I. Department of Revenue. The increase also marked the sixth consecutive year of a year-over-year increase, said Director of Revenue Rosemary Booth Gallogly.
Both the 5 percent and 1 percent hotel taxes increased 5.9 percent on a year-over-year basis. The 5 percent tax yielded $15.7 million for state agencies and municipalities, while the 1 percent tax pumped $3.1 million back to the municipalities in which the tax was collected. The breaching of the $3 million mark for a full year figure was a first since the state started issuing reports on the tax, said Gallogly.
Both 1 percent taxes also showed significant gains from May to June, according to the DOR. The meal and beverage tax collected grew 5.9 percent to $2.2 million in June, as the hotel tax saw a 23.3 percent increase to $334,022 in June over May. The month-to-month increases, while strong, fell short of the gains shown in May over April, which saw meal and beverage tax collections increase 16.7 percent as hotel tax collections grew 63 percent.
Rhode Island's meal and beverage tax requires all restaurants in the state to charge a 1 percent local tax on the sale of all meals and beverages. Similarly, the local 1 percent hotel tax requires hotels to charge a 1 percent tax on all transactions. The 5 percent hotel tax is distributed to the state's regional tourism districts, the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, the R.I. Convention Center Authority, the state of Rhode Island and the municipalities. Tax collections represent a fair gauge of restaurant and hotel activity in Rhode Island during a given period.
There were 13 towns and cities that received more than $500,000 in fiscal 2014 from the 1 percent meal and beverage tax. And of those municipalities, only Newport recorded a decline in tax revenue, falling 3.2 percent to $1.9 million. The largest percentage gain was recorded by Smithfield, at 11.7 percent to $649,927. Also showing a double-digit increase was Lincoln, at 10.5 percent to $752,037. The rest of the cities and towns showing increases in meal and beverage tax collected included: South Kingstown, 9.8 percent to $705,854; Pawtucket, 9 percent to $707,825; Middletown, 8.2 percent to $650,819; East Greenwich, 7.2 percent to $542,163; Warwick, 7 percent to $2.5 million; Westerly, 4.8 percent to $747,540; Cranston, 4.7 percent to $1.6 million; Narragansett, 4.7 percent to $523,958; East Providence, 4.2 percent to $850,141; and Providence, 4.1 percent to $4.7 million.
Of the six municipalities that collected more than $100,000 from the 1 percent hotel tax, Westerly saw the largest gain, 14.9 percent, ending the fiscal year with $188,057 in revenue. New Shoreham (Block Island) saw an 11.9 percent gain to $126,106, Middletown gained 11.7 percent to $289,889, Providence increased 5.5 percent to $825,596, Warwick showed a 4.1 percent increase to $432,937 and Newport hotel tax collections grew 3.2 percent to $815,986.
Similarly, the 5 percent hotel tax indicated improvements in hospitality activity during fiscal 2014 in all six municipalities that collected more than $100,000 from the levy. Westerly saw 14.9 percent growth to $235,071. New Shoreham's 11.9 percent increase yielded $157,632. Other towns and cities with percentage gains and totals included: Middletown, 11.7 percent, $362,361; Providence, 6.6 percent, $789,101; Warwick, 4.1 percent, $541,171; Newport, 3.2 percent, $1 million.
The beneficiaries of the 5 percent tax included: regional tourism districts, with a 6.1 percent gain in fiscal 2014 to $6.4 million; towns and cities, with a 6.2 percent gain to $3.7 million; the state, 5.9 percent gain, $3.4 million, the Providence Warwick CVB, 5.7 percent growth and $2 million in tax revenue; and the Convention Center, with 2.1 percent growth to $291,472.]]>
The new CAM Teaching Lab is available for public observation of research by students. The museum also will function partly as exhibit space for culinary students. When classes are not in session at the museum, visitors can browse the gallery and see examples of student lab work, and the materials students are using to learn.
Also on Tuesday, a new exhibit, "Sweet Success," will include ice cream, soda fountain, and candy-related artifacts discovered during the inventory project. Two Rhode Island companies are included - Sweenor's Chocolates and the Salois Dairy of Pawtucket - as well as the Agora Ice Cream Parlor, an 1896 New York landmark.
The inventory, part of the university's strategic plan, took place during the past year, led by museum staff members, with JWU student assistants and four temporary specialists.
Of the 250,000 items at the museum, about half already had been catalogued, said Kristin Zosa Puleo, event and program coordinator. But now, the remainder of the objects, books and menus has been entered into a collections database, and many have been photographed and researched.
In addition, some 2,000 menus and books have been entered into the museum's collections database at www.culinary.org. That database, which had only 40 items in it before, will be continually updated.
This online database "is mostly benefitting this campus so far in terms of the curriculum, and as we work with instructors, we're going to figure out how it can enhance curriculum at the other campuses as well," Puleo said.
JWU also has campuses in North Miami, Fla., Denver, Colo., and Charlotte, N.C.
Museum hours are: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.]]>
Ten-year yields that slid to 2.32 percent Thursday were lower than the levels projected by all 66 economists surveyed for their Sept. 30 forecasts. Even as the Federal Reserve scales back the bond-purchase program it has used to support the U.S. economy, Treasuries are drawing demand as yields in Europe fall to records amid speculation the European Central Bank will increase its efforts to cut borrowing costs. Fighting in Ukraine is spurring investor appetite for the safest securities.
"The bond market still has more room to rally," said Ali Jalai, a bond trader in Singapore at Scotiabank, a unit of Bank of Nova Scotia, one of 22 primary dealers that trade directly with the Fed. "The consensus is that the ECB will announce some sort of bond-buying program." In Ukraine, "it seems to be getting bigger and bigger every day," he said.
The U.S. 10-year yield was little changed at 2.35 percent at 7:32 a.m. in New York, according to Bloomberg Bond Trader data. It has fallen from 3.03 percent at the end of 2013. The price of the 2.375 percent note maturing in August 2024 fell 2/32, or 63 cents per $1,000 face value, to 100 8/32.
The median forecast in the Bloomberg survey conducted Aug. 8 to Aug. 13 was for the benchmark to be 2.70 percent by the end of September, while the lowest prediction was 2.40 percent.
Yields are also less than the bottom forecast for year end, which is 2.43 percent among 68 economists who responded.
From the United States to Asia and Europe, fixed-income securities of all types have gained 1.3 percent in August, the most since January as measured by Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data.
Japan's 10-year bond yielded 0.496 percent, after falling to 0.485 percent yesterday, the lowest level since April 2013. Australia's declined to 3.29 percent, about one basis point away from this year's low.
Europe's bond yields have tumbled to records after ECB President Mario Draghi said in Jackson Hole, Wyo., last week that policy makers will use "all the available instruments needed to ensure price stability" and are "ready to adjust our policy stance further." The ECB next meets on Sept. 4.
German 10-year yields dropped to 0.866 percent and France's slid to 1.217 percent Thursday, both all-time lows.
The U.S. and European powers joined Ukraine in condemning what they said were incursions by Russia as the government in Kiev sought to counter an offensive by separatist rebels.
The Fed has reduced its monthly purchases of government and mortgage debt to $25 billion from $85 billion, and is on course to end the program this year.
Diam Co. sold debt in the Treasury market earlier in August, said Hajime Nagata, a money manager for the company in Tokyo.
"It looks expensive," he said. "We prefer euro bonds." The company manages the equivalent of $135.6 billion.]]>
BayCoast Bank will open a 1,300-square-foot office at 10 Dorrance St. Two commercial-lending officers, both Rhode Island residents, are expected to be working at the Providence location next week, bank Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer Carl W. Taber told Providence Business News Thursday.
"We heard a recurring theme from the centers of influence - CPAs, attorneys and wealth-management advisers - that our business model is lacking in Rhode Island," said Taber, who is based at BayCoast Bank's operations center and administrative offices in Swansea.
"We operate out of a framework that we call 'common-sense banking.' We're able to act quickly and we're more responsive than regional, national or global banks," he said.
BayCoast Bank is a mutual savings bank model and does not have shareholders, he said.
"With a mutual savings bank there's no stock traded, so we're not subject to being acquired by someone who offers a price the board of the directors of an institution cannot refuse," said Taber.
BayCoast Bank is headquartered in Fall River and has 17 branches, with an 18th branch under construction in Dartmouth. Up until now, the bank had only one Rhode Island location, in Tiverton. The Providence office is considered an addition to the 18 branches.
"We're starting with a relatively small space," said Taber. "We're going to gauge whether further expansion into Rhode Island is warranted."
Michael Paiva and Joseph Sheehan, BayCoast Bank vice presidents and commercial lending officers, will be based at the Providence office.
Paiva has been with BayCoast Bank for about five years and has been working with commercial customers in Rhode Island from the bank's office in Seekonk. He previously worked with Webster Bank. He is a member of the Rhode Island Bankers Association and the Providence Chamber of Commerce.
Sheehan joined BayCoast Bank recently, from a previous position at Santander Bank and has also worked at Bank of America.]]>