After weeks of threatening to fight the extension of the Bush-era tax breaks for wealthy Americans, the House approved a bill to maintain lower taxes on all incomes for two years.
The Senate passed the legislation, earlier in the week and President Obama signed it into law Friday. Additional features include a payroll-tax credit for workers; 13-month extension of unemployment benefits; a lower estate tax rate; and large tax write-off for businesses buying new equipment.
A spike in Treasury yields pushed 30-year fixed mortgage rates to 5.09 percent according to a survey by HSH Associates, while a Freddie Mac survey showed rates averaged 4.83 percent for the week. Analysts observed rising rates would likely dampen demand for housing, which has been weak since the housing tax credits expired last spring, and prompt sellers to lower asking prices.
Good news on the local jobs front. New York City’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate inched downward to 9.1 percent in November, from 9.2 percent in October, and 10.5 percent in November 2009. Employment agencies, Wall Street, accounting firms, and other business services were among the sectors responsible for creating about 14,000 jobs in the City in November. Statewide, the unemployment rate increased slightly in November to 8.3 percent, from 8.2 percent in October. Nationally, the unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent in November from 9.6 percent in October.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from the owner of a group of West Harlem buildings who has been fighting Columbia University’s plans to use eminent domain to take his property for development. Next month Columbia is scheduled to start construction on the first of 17 buildings planned for the new 17-acre campus north of 125th Street near the Hudson River.
Famous chef and Harlem resident Marcus Samuelson has opened his long awaited 3,400 square foot restaurant, The Red Rooster, at 310 Lenox Avenue. The original Red Rooster was a Harlem hangout patronized by such greats as James Baldwin and Willie Mays.
“Sex and the City” is moving to Harlem. Well maybe not Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha but the Magnolia cupcake bakery featured in “Sex and the City” will be opening a 5,200-square-foot production facility at 1751 Park Avenue in the Harlem Empowerment Zone. The company, which signed a 10-year lease, expects to generate annual revenues of $10 million from the distribution site after it opens an online store in the spring.