Treasury secretary: Markets too calm about the debt ceiling

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says Wall Street should take the looming debt limit more seriously, CNNMoney reports. Although stocks have slipped for four consecutive days as investors turn their attention to Washington and the looming debt limit, the Standard & Poor's 500 and Dow Jones industrial average are just 2 percent from the all-time highs reached last week. In addition to the muted market action, the Chicago Board Option Exchange Market Volatility Index is indicating calm markets. "I think if you look at the calm out there, it's a bit greater than it should be," Lew said at the Bloomberg Markets 50 Summit in New York Tuesday. He said investors may be traumatized from the last debt ceiling debacle. "The sense is that 2011 was a terrible experience and nobody would do that again," Lew said. 

 

U.S. state tax revenues hit record highs in second quarter

Reuters reports that tax revenues for U.S. states soared to their highest in 25 years in the second quarter as personal income tax collections reached record amounts, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released on Tuesday. Total state tax revenues rose 9.4 percent from the second quarter of 2012 to $259.6 billion, the largest intake on records going back to 1988 and the 15th straight quarter of increases. Individual income taxes were up 19.4 percent to $106.2 billion, also the highest on record. Most states ended their fiscal years on June 30, the last day of the second quarter. For that year, total state tax revenues were $843.40 million, also a record high, Census Bureau records show.

 

Rules sought for workplace wellness questionnaires

A federal lawmaker is asking the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate employer wellness programs that seek intimate health information from employees, and to issue guidelines preventing employers from using such programs to discriminate against workers, The New York Times reports. The request made by Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, a Democrat from New York and an advocate for health privacy rights, came a few days after Pennsylvania State University suspended part of its new employee wellness program that had drawn objections from faculty members. The plan had asked employees to answer questions pertaining to workplace stress, marital problems and women's pregnancy plans, or pay a penalty if they didn't. After faculty members complained that the program seemed coercive and invaded their privacy, the university suspended the penalty, the article said. Slaughter made her request to the commission via letter on Monday.