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I-Team Special Report: Fare Warning Part II

Updated: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 |
I-Team Special Report: Fare Warning Part II story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - In a special report, the Newschannel 3 I-Team determined that the Kalamazoo cab industry was a largely unregulated industry with no accountability or oversight.

After seeing the results of our investigation, state and local leaders say they want to make changes.

We brought what we found to Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell and other city officials.

“I do believe this has to be addressed because it's the right thing for a city and for our county and community to do and we have to find a way to address it," says Hopewell.

But the I-Team uncovered that even though it's cities that have to deal with bad taxi service there’s little they can do about it on their own because of the loophole in the state law.

“It was designed with Detroit in mind but now it doesn't apply to any community in Michigan, well maybe that means we need to take another look at it, perhaps its slipped into being a bit outdated and problematic," says State Representative Sean McCann.

McCann says he wants to look at updating the state laws.
As it's written now the "State Limousine Transportation Act" says a limo carrier has to follow city laws only when, "within a city with a population of 750,000 or more." Right now no city in Michigan is that large and so none of them can regulate limos.

“I want to look into it further, see if it’s gotten out of date and see if there’s a way cities and the state can work together to provide this service," says McCann.

And Kalamazoo city commissioners have already started the process of looking into changes.

"Our city attorney is reviewing the ordinances we already have on the books, we're looking at where the gaps are, we're looking at what's going on in the other cities, how are they containing these different things, and we're gonna come up with a reasonable solution," says Cooney.

"We have to find a way to address it and the only way we're going to do that is working with legislators and governor’s office to look at this," says Hopewell.
 
Even though there are not a lot of regulations on limos they are still required to register with the state and you can check the state website to make sure the one you use is on the list. They also need to have a M-DOT sticker in the back window to show they at least have a state chauffeur's license.

To check out a list of authorized limousine carriers by county, click here.
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Business News

Last Update on June 03, 2015 17:17 GMT

ADP-EMPLOYMENT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A private survey finds U.S. companies stepped up hiring in May, evidence that employers remain confident in the economy even after it contracted at the start of the year.

Payroll processor ADP says businesses added 201,000 jobs last month, up from just 169,000 in the previous month. April's increase was the smallest in a year and a half.

The figures suggest that the economy is recovering after it shrank at a 0.7 percent annual rate in the first quarter. On Friday, the government will issue its official jobs report for May. Economists forecast it will show that employers added 227,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate remained 5.4 percent.

The ADP survey covers only private businesses, however, and frequently diverges from the official figures.

ECONOMY-SERVICES

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. service firms grew at a slower pace in May, as both new orders and hiring slipped.

The Institute for Supply Management says that it services index fell to 55.7 in May from 57.8 in April. Still, any reading over 50 indicates that services firms are expanding.

The slower growth rate reflects the uneven rebound from a brutal winter, which caused the economy to shrink at an annualized rate of 0.7 percent during the first quarter of 2015. Yet hiring has continued at a brisk pace, leading many economists to forecast solid growth in the coming months.

The ISM is a trade group of purchasing managers. Its survey of services firms covers businesses that employ 90 percent of the American workforce, including retail, construction, health care and financial services companies.

TRADE GAP

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. trade deficit declined sharply in April as exports posted a modest gain and imports fell, raising hopes that trade will not be as big a drag on overall growth in the current quarter.

The Commerce Department says the April deficit dropped 19.2 percent to $40.9 billion after surging to $50.6 billion in March, the highest level since late 2008. The big surge in the deficit reduced overall economic growth by nearly 2 percentage points in the first quarter, helping send the gross domestic product down at an annual rate of 0.7 percent.

In March, exports edged up 1 percent to $189.9 billion, led by a big rise in commercial airplane sales. Imports fell 3.3 percent to $230.8 billion. The deficit is the difference between imports and exports.

GLOBAL ECONOMY

PARIS (AP) -- The world economy risks being bogged down in a low-growth spiral unless measures are taken to spur demand and incite businesses to boost their stubbornly sluggish investments.

That's the conclusion of the latest economic forecast from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Paris-based body made up of 34 of the world's most developed countries.

In its biannual checkup on the world's economic health, the OECD has slashed its forecast for the U.S. economy, where winter blizzards in the Northeast and port disruptions on the West Coast caused a first quarter economic contraction.

The OECD now expects U.S. economic growth to slow to 2 percent this year from 2.4 percent in 2014, compared to March when it forecast an acceleration to 3.1 percent in 2015.

EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- The European Central Bank has raised its forecast for inflation this year to 0.3 percent from zero previously.

The step is another indication that the risk of crippling deflation -- a long-term drop in prices -- may be fading in Europe.

ECB President head Mario Draghi made the announcement at a news conference Wednesday at the bank's headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany.

The bank is pushing 1.1 trillion euros ($1.2 trillion) of monetary stimulus into the economy through 60 billion euros in monthly purchases of government and corporate bonds with newly printed money. The aim is to push inflation toward its goal of just under 2 percent and boost growth and job creation.

GREECE-BAILOUT

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greece's prime minister is headed for a showdown with key creditors in Brussels today.

Each side is expected to present proposals that might unlock bailout loans and save the country from looming financial disaster.

Ahead of the meetings, the European Union's executive Commission dampened hopes of a quick breakthrough, even though Greece is running out of cash and faces debt repayments as soon as Friday.

But Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (TSEE'-prahs) is stressing the need for compromise. He says the financial institutions and European political leaders need to "sign up to realism."

Greece has been negotiating for four months with its creditors over what budget reforms it should make to get the $8.1 billion in loans that are left over in its bailout fund.

Meanwhile, a survey by the financial information company Markit finds concerns over Greece are acting as "a brake on growth" in countries that use the euro. Markit's chief economist Chris Williamson says "any escalation of the Greek crisis could rapidly derail the recovery."

SHARING ECONOMY-STUDY

NEW YORK (AP) -- A new study finds American cities are enticed by the economic growth and services that "sharing economy" companies such as Airbnb, Uber and Lyft can offer. But officials are anxious about safety in a largely unregulated realm.

The National League of Cities released the findings Wednesday. They're drawn from survey responses from 245 leaders of American municipalities large and small.

Seventy-one percent of city leaders say they want to see the "sharing" sector grow. Yet 61 percent say they're concerned about the safety of using apps and websites that let everyday people rent out rooms, arrange car rides and provide other services to strangers. More than half the cities said they imposed no rules on "sharing" players.

Companies say they're safety-conscious contributors to cities' economies.

SHOWTIME-STREAMING

NEW YORK (AP) -- Showtime will join rival HBO with an online streaming option for those that don't want to pay for cable.

CBS Corp., which owns Showtime, says it will begin streaming next month for $10.99 a month on all Apple devices, including the iPad, iPhone and Apple TV. CBS says Showtime will be available on non-Apple devices soon.

Networks and cable channels have begun to create stand-alone streaming services as a way to reach people who don't subscribe to traditional cable packages that have dozens of channels. HBO Now has been available on Apple devices since April. CBS already has a streaming service for its network, where customers can watch "The Big Bang Theory" and other CBS shows.

Showtime will begin streaming on July 12.

SAN FRANCISCO-BUILDING MORATORIUM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- San Francisco Supervisors rejected a plan late Tuesday night to temporarily block construction of luxury condos in the city's Mission District.

The moratorium would have affected two dozen projects in the district, which has witnessed skyrocketing prices amid a technology jobs boom.

A one-bedroom flat can easily rent for more than $3,300 a month, and two-bedroom condos are listed for nearly $5,000.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/1Q67zla) hat the final vote at the end of a hourslong meeting was 7-4 in favor of the moratorium, but the measure required nine votes to pass as an "interim emergency ordinance."

Disappointed supporters vowed to put the proposed moratorium on the November ballot.

Supervisor David Campos, the plan's chief sponsor, had argued that it would have given the city room to purchase property and develop affordable housing units.

Supervisor Scott Weiner was opposed, and said the way to affordable housing is to increase construction.

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