- - Thursday, June 30, 2011

OIL INDUSTRY

Marathon spinoff gives Ohio fifth-largest refiner

FINDLAY | Ohio is now home to the nation’s fifth-largest oil refinery, with Marathon Oil effectively splitting into two companies.

One company, Marathon Oil Corp., based in Houston, will explore for and produce oil.

The Marathon Petroleum division will be based in Findlay, Ohio.

Marathon President Gary Heminger says $78 million in state tax credits was crucial in keeping the refining company headquartered in northwest Ohio, where it already has about 1,600 employees.

As part of the deal, the company must stay in Ohio for at least the next 18 years.

Mr. Heminger said Thursday that Marathon Petroleum is poised for growth over the next four years, with a new project to bring Canadian crude oil into the U.S.

He expects to add about 100 jobs this year at the headquarters.

EMPLOYMENT

Jobless tax expires quietly for employers

Nearly every private employer in the U.S. will get a tax cut on Friday, thanks to the expiration of a 35-year-old “temporary” unemployment tax.

It’s a modest tax cut - $14 a year for a company for each of its workers. But it amounts to a 25 percent cut in federal unemployment taxes, coming at a time when businesses are facing much higher state unemployment taxes. Nationally, the tax cut will save employers more than $14 billion over the next decade.

The tax was passed in 1976 as a temporary measure to help pay for federal unemployment benefits in the 1970s. But like many “temporary” measures in Washington, it endured and was extended at least eight times.

President Obama proposed making the tax permanent, but Congress let the tax quietly expire.

VIRGINIA

Mortgage exec gets 30 years for fraud

ALEXANDRIA | An executive convicted of orchestrating a $3 billion fraud as chairman of one of America’s largest private mortgage companies has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Federal prosecutors in Northern Virginia had sought a life sentence on Thursday for Lee. B. Farkas, former chairman of Florida-based Taylor Bean & Whitaker. They called the case against him one of the most significant arising from the nation’s financial meltdown.

A federal jury in Alexandria convicted Farkas in April of all 14 counts, including securities fraud and conspiracy.

Farkas testified that he had done nothing wrong.

Farkas, of Ocala, Fla., is the last of seven employees and executives at Taylor Bean and Colonial Bank to be sentenced. Taylor Bean collapsed in 2009 when the scheme unraveled, putting 2,000 employees out of work.

NEVADA

Vegas officials consider gay-honeymoon business

LAS VEGAS | Same-sex couples can’t get married in Nevada, but Las Vegas tourism officials are still looking for a way to cash in on the growing gay-wedding industry.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is considering marketing southern Nevada as a honeymoon destination for same-sex couples married in states that permit it.

The Las Vegas Sun reported Thursday that the tourism agency’s director of diversity marketing has already discussed the possibility with his staff.

New York recently became the latest state to legalize same-sex marriage, joining Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and New Hampshire, as well as the District of Columbia.

Same-sex marriage was banned in Nevada in 2002 by a statewide vote.

Las Vegas is widely recognized as a wedding destination because of the relative ease in obtaining a marriage license.

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