* CTA riders may be squeezed for more cash…
CTA President Ron Huberman can’t rule out higher fares next year, given the high cost of fuel and the expense of the free rides for seniors program.
“Fuel costs are exploding,” Huberman said. He also noted that the free rides program, which began March 17, looks like it will be a “pretty expensive venture.”
I don’t know whether Huberman is just trying to shift blame on the free rides for seniors program, but Blagojevich is a handy punching bag these days so it’s easy to blame him for just about everything.
* Higher energy prices mean a lot of people owe a ton of money for their heating bills…
Hundreds of thousands of utility customers are at risk of disconnections as the sagging economy drives up the number of past-due home heating bills and the amounts owed, utility companies in cold-weather states say.
Xcel Energy says 17%-19% of its 1.1 million Minnesota customers and its 280,000 Wisconsin customers are in arrears. That’s about the same as a year ago, but balances owed are up 10% in Minnesota and up 20% in Wisconsin, says Pat Boland, Xcel’s credit policy manager.
* Meanwhile, one of the dominant players in the state’s payday loan industry has found a loophole to get around a state law that capped interest rates…
When a law governing payday loans took effect more than two years ago, Illinois officials ballyhooed the millions of dollars saved and the burdens lifted for cash-strapped borrowers.
But consumer advocates say a major player in the loan industry has used a loophole in the law to shift customers to loans with no caps on interest rates, allowing them to charge an average 279 percent annual interest on loans to mostly female, minority and low-income borrowers.
* And you gotta wonder if big layoffs are coming at Wrigley…
Wm. Wrigley Jr. Cos., in a move it said will provide “enhanced prospects for growth,” confirmed this morning that it has agreed to be acquired by privately held candy-industry giant Mars Inc. for $80 a share, or $23 billion.
The Chicago chewing-gum company said its board has already approved the all-cash offer, although the transaction will still require clearance from regulators and Wrigley stockholders.
I also wonder how this might impact the attempts by Tribune Co. to pressure Wrigley to buy naming rights at Wrigely Field.
*** Adding *** Rhodes has a funny line today…
Which joke will get more play, Mars Field or Snickers Stadium?