Battle Lines Drawn on Budget [WSJ]
Republicans won't accept further tax increases in coming budget and debt negotiations, the party's Senate leader said Sunday, putting GOP lawmakers on a collision course with Democrats over raising the government's borrowing limit. Congress and President Barack Obama last week raised income-tax rates on high earners as part of legislation to avoid the series of spending cuts and broad tax increases known as the fiscal cliff. "The tax issue is finished, over, completed. That's behind us," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) told ABC. He said new tax revenue is "absolutely" off the table as part of any coming negotiations with Democratic lawmakers and Mr. Obama. Democratic leaders say more revenue is needed, mainly by scaling back tax breaks.
Deal in Foreclosure Case Is Imminent, Officials Say [NYT]
A $10 billion settlement to resolve claims of foreclosure abuses by 14 major lenders is expected to be announced as early as Monday, several people with knowledge of the discussions said on Sunday. The settlement comes after weeks of negotiations between federal regulators and the banks, and covers abuses like flawed paperwork and botched loan modifications, said these people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been made public. An estimated $3.75 billion of the $10 billion is to be distributed in cash relief to Americans who went through foreclosure in 2009 and 2010, these people said. An additional $6 billion is to be directed toward homeowners in danger of losing their homes after falling behind on their monthly payments. All 14 banks , including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup, are expected to sign on.
DOJ pledges to respect Swiss law in tax probe: paper [Reuters]
Swiss chief finance diplomat Michael Ambuehl was given a verbal pledge from the U.S. Department of Justice to respect Swiss law when asking for bank client data of potential tax dodgers, a newspaper reported on Sunday. Switzerland is in negotiations with U.S. authorities to find a deal that would end tax probes into at least ten Swiss banks suspected of helping clients dodge taxes, including Credit Suisse and Julius Baer. The Alpine country is trying to preserve what is left of its cherished banking secrecy that suffered a severe blow in 2009 when UBS, the first Swiss bank that came under scrutiny in the U.S., was required to disclose client data.
Deloitte buys Oakland-based human resources research and advisory firm [SFBT]
Deloitte said Thursday that it purchased Oakland-based Bersin & Associates, a fast-growing provider of analytics and research for human-resource professionals. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. But Deloitte wasn't shy in discussing why Bersin's offerings are a good fit with its consulting arm. "The rise of globalization, changes in the labor model, shifting workforce dynamics and significant cost pressures are elevating the strategic importance of the HR function among the C-suite," said Barbara Adachi, national managing director of human capital at Deloitte Consulting.
For Newly Minted M.B.A.s, a Smaller Paycheck Awaits [WSJ]
The M.B.A.'s lot is partly reflected in starting pay. While available figures vary by schools and employers, recruiters' expected median salary for newly hired M.B.A.s was essentially flat between 2008 and 2011, not adjusting for inflation, according to a survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council. For graduates with minimal experience—three years or less—median pay was $53,900 in 2012, down 4.6% from 2007-08, according to an analysis conducted for The Wall Street Journal by PayScale.com. Pay fell at 62% of the 186 schools examined. Even for more seasoned grads the trend is similar, says Katie Bardaro, lead economist for PayScale.com. "In general, it seems that M.B.A. pay is either stagnant or falling," she says.
Hostess in Talks to Sell Off Bread Brands [WSJ]
Flowers Foods Inc. and Grupo Bimbo SAB are in discussions to acquire pieces of Hostess Brands Inc.'s bread business, as the maker of Wonder Bread and Twinkies sells off assets and liquidates, said people familiar with the talks. Hostess could disclose Flowers, Grupo Bimbo or others as opening bidders in a looming bankruptcy-court auction for the assets as soon as this week, the people said. Hostess, whose bread brands include Wonder Bread, Nature's Pride, Home Pride, Merita and Butternut, is still determining how to split up assets and package them for buyers, one of the people said. Hostess's bread brands could fetch more than $350 million, the person said. The bids are still being negotiated, so their final values and structures aren't yet determined, the person said. Hostess's cake business, including the Twinkies brand, is expected to be sold later this year, and negotiations with possible buyers remain in early stages, this person said.
Drop the Puck: NHL, Players Settle Labor Dispute [AP]
After 16 hours of tense talks, the NHL and its players finally achieved their elusive deal early Sunday morning, finding a way to restart a sport desperate to regain momentum and boost its prominence. Ending a bitter dispute that wiped out a large part of the hockey season for the third time in less than two decades, the league and its union agreed to the framework of a 10-year labor contract that will allow a delayed schedule to start later this month. On the 113th day of a management lockout and five days before the league's deadline for a deal, the bleary-eyed sides held a 6 a.m. news conference to announce there will be a season, after all.
Hernando schools' finance officer posted porn, criticized boss during work hours [TBT]
Hernando schools chief financial officer Desiree Henegar had a busy slate of meetings July 31, including a public hearing on the district's 2012-2013 budget. But she was not too busy to post pornographic images or harsh criticisms of her boss to a popular online account. "Sitting in an extremely boring meeting next to my big boss who has nasty cigar breath," she wrote at 11:13 a.m. "UGH!! I need to get out of here!!" At 2:12 p.m, she posted an explicit image of two women performing oral sex on a man. "Having inappropriate thoughts during a Board meeting," she wrote in a caption. Since March, when she created the account on Tumblr, a blogging and photo-sharing site, the 47-year-old Henegar has posted thousands of times under the pseudonym Floridagirl46. Much of it is pornography, and in one post she refers to the account as a "sex blog." Henegar posted pornographic material at work, sometimes multiple times a day. She also posted several images she claims are of herself, including some that are sexually explicit.