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Thu March 22, 2012
Perry Gets FEC Green Light For PAC
The Federal Election Commission is giving Gov. Rick Perry the go-ahead to use some of the money left over from his failed presidential bid to form a political action committee.
Thursday's move allows Perry to use money left over from his Republican primary campaign for a PAC or a super PAC or transfer it to a state campaign for governor. Perry has not ruled out running for another term in 2014.
The commission agreed to let Perry move funds raised for his primary campaign, but could not reach consensus on money he collected for the 2012 general election for president. The campaign had set aside about $270,000 it raised for the general election.
Perry's campaign reported it still had about $675,000 total at the end of February.
Several executives leave Komen after controversy
At least five high-ranking executives with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer charity have resigned in the aftermath of the organization's decision to eliminate its funding for Planned Parenthood.
The departures include three officials from Komen's Dallas headquarters, as well as CEOs of affiliate groups in Oregon and New York City.
Although some of the executives cited personal reasons, the resignations suggest that Komen is still in turmoil, even after restoring the money.
The resignations began about a month ago.
Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun said she could not speak to individuals' reasons for leaving but acknowledged that the controversy had upset many supporters.
American Airlines Aims To Cancel Labor Contracts
An attorney representing American Airlines says that if the company can't reach cost-cutting deals with labor unions, it will ask a federal bankruptcy judge to throw out union contracts.
The company will seek to void several collective-bargaining agreements that have been under intense negotiations since American and parent AMR Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection Nov. 29.
Attorney Harvey Miller said Thursday that both the company and the unions have negotiated in good faith, but he doesn't expect American Airlines parent company AMR Corp. and the unions to reach consensus.
Unions for pilots, flight attendants and ground workers have been expecting just such a move.
American Eagle wants to cut $75M in labor costs
American Eagle, which operates feeder flights for American Airlines, said Wednesday that it wants to cut annual labor costs by $75 million and could shed 500 or more jobs over time. CEO Daniel Garton said that with greater productivity, Eagle could get by with fewer workers, and jobs could be eliminated through layoffs or attrition.
Garton cited 500 jobs, but Eagle spokesman Bruce Hicks said later it could be up to 600 jobs, or nearly 5 percent of the airline’s workforce.
Garton said Eagle needs to cut costs to compete for work from American and other airlines. Eagle and American are both owned by AMR Corp., which filed for bankruptcy protection in November.
Eagle was expected to provide more details on bankruptcy cost-cutting during meetings with unions later in the day.
Eagle uses smaller planes than American’s to connect passengers from smaller cities to American’s hub airports. Its revenue last year was $2.5 billion, about 10 percent of AMR’s total.
The cuts announced Wednesday would equal 3 percent of Eagle’s 2011 revenue. By contrast, American wants to eliminate 13,000 jobs and cut labor costs by $1.25 billion a year, an amount that equals nearly 6 percent of AMR revenue excluding Eagle.
James C. Little, president of the Transport Workers Union, which represents ground workers at American and Eagle, agreed that American’s proposed cuts are much deeper than Eagle’s.
Drought Effects Will Linger After Rains
Farmers, ranchers, credit bureaus and agricultural experts say the economic impacts from a historic drought that has parched Texas will be felt for years, even if the dry spell ends in 2012.
And the ripple effects will be felt nationwide as the drought's unprecedented impact on Texas agriculture forces food prices nationwide to increase more than expected.
The Texas House of Representative's Natural Resources Committee heard testimony Thursday in Austin on the drought's impacts and the state's preparedness.
It is estimated the agriculture industry in Texas suffered a record $7.62 billion loss in 2011 due to the drought.
State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon says he is encouraged by the current weather trends, but won't promise a wet 2012.
Gas prices up 6 cents this week across Texas
Gasoline prices across Texas have risen 6 cents this week. AAA Texas on Thursday reported the average retail price per gallon has reached $3.76.
The association's weekly survey found the national retail price for gasoline jumped 7 cents, reaching $3.88 per gallon.
AAA says Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston have the state's most expensive gasoline, at $3.82 per gallon. Amarillo has the least expensive gasoline, with an average $3.60 a gallon.
AAA says oil prices for much of the year have been driven by signs of economy recovery, tensions with Iran and concerns about the European debt situation.
Keller city manager lays self off
The administrator of a North Texas city believes he's not needed and has laid himself off. Keller City Manager Dan O'Leary on Wednesday announced he is leaving, effective April 20.
O'Leary says the Fort Worth-area city of nearly 40,000 has two assistant managers and really does not need three administrators. He earned about $176,000 annually as city manager.
The 57-year-old O'Leary, who was hired in 2007, says he has no plans to retire.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports O'Leary on Tuesday informed city council members of his decision during a closed session.
Elected officials did not immediately make an announcement on whether he will be replaced.