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Briefcase

Big Y Acquires Louis & Clark Locations
SPRINGFIELD — Louis & Clark Drug Stores have signed an agreement to sell the assets of two of their pharmacy locations to Big Y Foods Inc. The Louis & Clark Drug Stores at 471 Breckwood Blvd. in Springfield and 459 Main St. in Wilbraham will be operated as Big Y’s Louis & Clark Pharmacies. Louis & Clark will continue to operate their remaining locations. “As a family-owned and -operated company, we are excited to be working with another family-owned and -operated company to continue to serve the needs of our local community. Through our partnership with Big Y, we are able to maintain our local roots,” said Skip Matthews, president of Louis & Clark. Through our partnership with Big Y, we are able to focus our business efforts on the growing fields of home medical equipment and specialty pharmaceutical services, while Big Y focuses on its strength in retail pharmacy.” In addition, Big Y Pharmacies and Louis & Clark will work together to develop Louis & Clark’s ongoing home medical equipment division by offering referrals and consultations to Big Y customers through Louis & Clark’s Medical Supplies and Equipment located at 309 East St. at the corner of Page Boulevard in Springfield, and the satellite Louis & Clark location at 238 Northampton St. in Easthampton. Through the years, Louis & Clark has been one of the region’s premier independent pharmacy and health care solutions providers. This new relationship with Big Y will ensure that continuity of services for these two stores. Louis & Clark Drug Stores were founded in 1965 by Louis Demosthenous and Clark Matthews. The first store, based in Chicopee, was named Airline Drug, but customers and friends commented so frequently on the opportune names of the partners, Louis & Clark, that they soon named the company after the two explorers, Lewis and Clark, who traveled across America in 1804. All current Louis & Clark employees at both locations will have an opportunity to interview for employment with Big Y.

MassCBI Updates Name
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Chamber of Business and Industry recently announced its new identity, the Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce Inc. “At the Massachusetts Chamber, we strive to represent all business interests in and around the Commonwealth,” said Debra Boronski, president and founder of the organization. “While we serve business and industry, the purpose of a statewide chamber of commerce is to increase wealth and prosperity by facilitating the growth of existing businesses and fostering new ones. Simply put, the Massachusetts chamber’s focus is the Commonwealth’s economic well-being.” The organization provides legislative advocacy, marketing, networking, educational, and informational programs for businesses in the state. The chamber also provides managerial services for local chambers of commerce and professional organizations such as the West of the River Chamber of Commerce and the Realtors Commercial Alliance of Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.masscbi.com.

Construction Industry a Lagging Indicator
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The nation’s construction industry lost jobs for a second straight month, shedding 12,000 jobs in November, according to the Dec. 2 jobs report by the Department of Labor. During the past 12 months, the construction industry has added 18,000 jobs, an 0.3% increase. The construction unemployment rate slipped from 13.7% in October to 13.1% in November, and is down from 18.8% in November 2010. Non-residential building construction employment decreased by 1,200 jobs for the month, but has added 9,900 jobs, or 1.5%, from the same time last year. Residential construction building employment decreased by 3,000 jobs for the month and has lost 400 jobs, or 0.1%, compared to the same time last year. In related news, for the week ending Dec. 3, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 381,000, a decrease of 23,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 404,000. The four-week moving average was 393,250, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 396,250. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.8% for the week ending Nov. 26, a decrease of 0.2% from the prior week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Nov. 26 was 3,583,000, a decrease of 174,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,757,000.

Report: Corporations Paying Few State Taxes
BOSTON — A comprehensive new study, from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) and the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG), profiles the 265 consistently profitable Fortune 500 corporations, finding that 68 companies paid no state corporate income tax in at least one of the last three years, and 20 of these corporations averaged a tax rate of zero or less during the 2008-10 period. “Individual taxpayers and Main Street businesses end up having to pick up the tab when these corporations avoid paying their taxes,” said Deirdre Cummings, legislative director for MASSPIRG. The report, “Corporate Tax Dodging in Fifty States, 2008-2010,” was produced by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) and recently released in conjunction with MASSPIRG. It examines Fortune 500 companies that filed SEC filings with required information on total state taxes paid that year. Only companies that reported profits in all three years were included in the study. It includes EMC, Raytheon, and Staples, which are headquartered in Massachusetts. “Our report shows these 265 corporations raked in a combined $1.33 trillion in profits in the last three years, and far too many have managed to shelter half or more of their profits from state taxes,” said Matthew Gardner, executive director at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, and the report’s co-author. “They’re so busy avoiding taxes, it’s no wonder they’re not creating any new jobs.” EMC is one company covered in the report. It reported annual profits each year from 2008 to 2010, netting over $2.3 billion during the period, and paid 0.3% in state taxes across the nation. Raytheon is another example, with annual profits netting over $8 billion but paying just 2.3% in state taxes across the country. The report finds that 68 of the 265 companies managed to pay no state income tax at all in at least one year from 2008 through 2010, despite telling their shareholders they made almost $117 billion in pretax U.S. profits in those no-tax years. Some companies, such as DuPont, Goodrich, International Paper, and Intel, paid no net state income tax over the full three-year period. MASSPIRG’s own study last year on the use of offshore tax havens found that household tax filers in Massachusetts pay on average $608 in additional federal taxes to make up for revenue lost due to use of offshore tax havens. “We need to level the playing field,” said Cummings. “Companies should thrive based on how productive and innovative they are, not based on their aggressive tax lobbyists and lawyers and their ability to devise elaborate tax-avoidance schemes.”

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