Archive for the ‘Funds’ Category

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States warned on access to bailout funds


DAN OBRIEN, Economics Editor

TREATY:EURO AREA countries which do not adopt a new treaty designed to strengthen rules on government budgets may not have access to EU bailout funds in the future, according to an adviser to Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council.

Richard Corbett, speaking yesterday at the Institute for International and European Affairs, also suggested that states credit ratings could be negatively affected by non-ratification of the treaty.

He went on to reject suggestions that the treaty would subject its signatories to permanent austerity, saying that it imposed no limits on government spending.

It did, however, impose strict limits on the spending of borrowed money, he said.

Mr Corbett acknowledged the slow pace of the EU-level response to the financial/sovereign debt crisis, but said that, unlike the last such crisis, in the 1930s, European countries had avoided protectionism and had agreed to use fiscal stimulus (shortly after its outbreak).

He also noted that, without the euro, there may have been competitive currency devaluations among countries now using the currency. Such devaluations in the past had caused tensions among the member states.

Mr Corbett, who was a member of the European parliament for the British Labour Party until 2009, outlined a series of measures he believed would re-energise the European economy. These included an acceleration of efforts to negotiate free trade agreements with large emerging economies. Liberalisation of commerce with developing countries had the potential to boost prosperity across the EU, he said.

The protracted failure of EU governments to agree a common European patent continues to the detriment of European innovators, Mr Corbett said. The cost of securing patent rights in the 27 member states is 30,000. This would be cut to one tenth if a single patent was needed to cover the entire bloc, he said.

Mr Corbett likened the EU to a Gothic cathedral and the new treaty to a flying buttress. He said it would have been preferable to strengthen the EUs foundations internally, by agreeing to amend the EUs treaties but this was not possible owing to the veto of one member state, referring to Britains rejection of this option last month.

This forced the other 26 member countries to provide external support to the EU by negotiating a treaty outside the blocs legal architecture, he said. Talks on finalising the treaty are due to be concluded by the end of the month.

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Hedge funds get some heavy trimming


Hedge funds get some heavy trimming

Investors are yanking millions out of the hedge fund industry, fourth quarter data shows. The trend will continue unless hedge funds start performing more effectively.


Joshua M. Brown,Guest blogger /
January 20, 2012

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Kansas tobacco prevention funds diverted to other uses


United States (KaiserHealth) It may be a new budget year for Kansas, but its the same level of funding for anti-smoking efforts in the state.

And thats just the problem, anti-tobacco activists say. Kansas falls far short of the federally recommended level of spending for anti-tobacco programs. In fact, the state earns an F for prevention spending in the American Lung Associations 2012 State of Tobacco Control report.

Of the $745 million in tobacco lawsuit-settlement funds and $1.4 billion in tobacco taxes in the past 12 years, less than $11 million has gone specifically for anti-smoking programs. The federal Centers for Disease Control say Kansas should have spent about $32 million per year for a wide range of prevention efforts.

And Gov. Sam Brownbacks budget makes no change: those funds and taxes will continue to pay for other needs in the state.

One effective tool to help smokers quit is telephone counseling, like the toll-free hotline, available in all 50 states, 1-800-QuitNow. Kansas spends approximately $1.10 per smoker on its quit line; the CDC recommends it spend almost 10 times more $10.53 per smoker, according to the American Lung Association.

Thats a problem for Mary Jayne Hellebust, who heads a non-profit advocacy group called the Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition.

How many people know about the quit line? asks Hellebust. Where are the billboards? Where are the radio announcements? Where are the television PSAs amp;hellip; that say Hey, weve got a quit line. This can help you.

According to the CDC, Kansas should be spending $3.7 million per year just on media. The states actual budget for anti-tobacco advertising is $90,000.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment does produce anti-smoking messages. A video, found on its website, focuses on the cost of smoking. The average smoker spends about $150 a month on cigarettes. Thats almost two thousand dollars a year! If youre tired of paying the price, call the Kansas Tobacco Quit Line. But Hellebust questions how many people are seeing that message.

The multi-state lawsuit settlement with the major tobacco companies provides almost double the amount of funding the CDC recommends for the states anti-tobacco programs.

But Kansas lawmakers decided in99 to devote most of that money to a special fund for early-childhood programsamp;things like early education, childrens mental health, and services for infants and toddlers with disabilities. That decision has the enthusiastic support of Shannon Cotsoradis, who heads the research and advocacy group, Kansas Action for Children.

I think there are a lot of reasons that it influences the childs life in a positive way. Were putting them in a positive, nurturing, supportive environment, Cotsoradis says. Theyre more likely to get access to things like health care and good nutrition, have positive adult role models. All of those things influence whether or not a child engages in risky behaviors in their adolescent years.

Cotsoradis says that means these programs make kids less likely to use tobacco, even if thats not the main focus of those dollars.

Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment Dr. Robert Moser supports using settlement funds for childrens programs. And he thinks its unlikely that Kansas will devote anywhere near $32 million dollars recommended by the CDC for tobacco prevention.

There are always things we can do with more dollars, but we live in a time where more dollars are not likely [to] be forthcoming, and so now we have to look at, you know, what interventions, what programs have been most effective, so that we focus on those, perhaps, as more higher priority than some others that maybe arent as effective, Moser says.

Danny McGoldrick, research director for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, argues that Kansas should raise its tax on tobacco a move that would garner more revenue for the state and would discourage smoking.

Its been ten years since Kansas raised its cigarette tax to 79 cents per pack. McGoldrick says the average nationally is $1.46.

The health care costs associated with smoking in Kansas are over $900 million, so when we invest in tobacco prevention, we not only pay for the program, but in the longer term we save health care dollars, he says.

Provided by Kaiser Health News.