Numlock News: June 3, 2022 • Atlantic City, Free Parking, Go To Jail
By Walt Hickey
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New Jersey passed a set of tax cuts for the Atlantic City casinos last year, but has been notoriously opaque about precisely how much Trenton kicked back to the gambling industry owing to the somewhat serpentine manner in which casinos are taxed. A new analysis, though, puts some hard numbers on just how much the House is winning this year. The nine gaming properties in Atlantic City would have owed $165 million in what's called the PILOT — payment in lieu of taxes — under the previous taxation regime had it held in 2022. Instead, the casinos are only paying $110 million this year, not only down substantially from what they'd owe without the kickback but even lower than the $130 million the properties paid in 2021. That's a big issue for the city itself, which will get $41 million less in local taxes from the casinos than they otherwise would have been set to receive.
Seattle will void or refund over 200,000 parking tickets that the Seattle Department of Transportation issued between September 1 and April 5 after it was discovered that the city never technically transferred the citation-writing authority over from the police department to the Department of Transportation. That means that roughly 100,000 parking tickets that had been paid will be refunded, which should set the city back by $4.5 million to $5 million. The decision doesn't affect tickets issued by automatic traffic cameras, as obviously the right of the robots to enforce laws was never in question.
About 30 million Americans have diabetes, and 1.6 million adults have Type 1 diabetes and require insulin. Despite being over 100 years old, insulin has remained stubbornly patented, and the three companies that control 90 percent of the market can charge whatever they want for it, meaning hundreds of dollars for a liquid to ensure 1.6 million adults continue to be able to be alive. As a result, one out of every four patients skip or ration insulin. Three states — Maine, California and Washington — are weighing a state-level solution to produce and market insulin to residents.
Charge ’Em For The Lice, Extra For The Mice
Many restaurants have been sneaking in weird little fees, like "noncash adjustments" and "fuel surcharges" and "kitchen appreciation," words that mean absolutely nothing beyond "the cost of this meal will increase 3.5 percent, sorry we didn't mention that up front." According to point-of-sale developer Lightspeed, which analyzed a sample of 6,000 restaurants on its platform, 36.4 percent added service fees at some point between April 2021 and April 2022. It's not like they're just pocketing the profits, though: The price of supplies in the restaurant business is up 17.5 percent year over year.
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Lots of celebs have shilled a whole lot of crypto, and with crypto down now's a boom time to kick those celebrity spokespeople while they're down. Famous people have a weirdly significant impact over the financial decisions of a huge chunk of Americans. One survey found 20 percent of investors would invest in a cryptocurrency if a famous person endorsed it, a figure that rose to 45 percent when looking at crypto owners. Another survey found that 28 percent of Gen Z and 24 percent of Millennials sought financial advice from influencers.
Crime is down in big cities, with Los Angeles and New York accounting for just 4 percent of the country's murders, down from 13.5 percent in the 90s. And while crime is sporadically up, depending on the location, the reality is that it's not going to get solved. For instance, 40 years ago 90 percent of manslaughter crimes were cleared, a figure that is now down to 69 percent. Among nonviolent property crimes, only 14 percent of burglaries, 15 percent of thefts and 12 percent of motor vehicle thefts are actually solved by cops. Indeed, less than half of assaults are actually cleared at the end of the day. At the end of the day, murder's down, but the chances that they actually get around to catching your killer is lower than in ages.
The EPA maintains a handbook that looks at all of the benchmarks when it comes to human exposure to chemicals. One somewhat counterintuitive reality is that the younger a person is, the more their exposure to air pollutants has consequences, mainly because on a per-cell basis they're simply breathing more. A 4-kilogram newborn, for instance, breaths 1 cubic meter of air per kilogram of weight, compared to 0.56 cubic meters per kilogram in a pre-schooler, and 0.22 cubic meters of air per kilogram of weight in a given adult. That's why when it comes to chemical exposure, youth exposure is of paramount concern.
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