Business briefing

The daily business briefing: October 20, 2017

Senate approves budget in key step toward tax cuts, Lyft gets $1 billion in financing courtesy of Alphabet, and more

1

Senate Republicans push through budget, clearing way for tax cuts

The Senate narrowly approved the Republican budget plan, a key step toward their effort to pass President Trump's tax cuts. The spending blueprint could add $1.5 trillion to federal deficits over a decade. It was approved in a 51-49 vote, with budget hawk Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who argued that the budget should reduce the deficit, casting the lone GOP no vote. The budget plan includes a legislative tool that will let Senate Republicans pass Trump's corporate and individual tax cuts with a simple majority, preventing Democrats from blocking the legislation with a filibuster. That gives the GOP a way to get the tax cuts approved by year's end, without the need for support from any Democrats.

2

Lyft gets $1 billion in new financing thanks to Alphabet

Lyft said Thursday that it had raised $1 billion in new financing from a group led by CapitalG, the venture investment arm of Google parent Alphabet. The funding will help the ride-hailing app battle larger rival Uber, which has been hampered by internal troubles in recent months. The investment valued Lyft at $10 billion before the new financing, marking a jump from $6.9 billion in the San Francisco-based company's last valuation. The deal showed that Alphabet is continuing its shift away from Uber, and hints at a possible link between Alphabet's Waymo autonomous vehicle program and Lyft's ride-delivery network.

3

8th child reported killed in accident involving recalled Ikea dresser

An eighth child has been killed in an accident involving an Ikea dresser that was recalled more than a year ago because of the danger it could tip over. Two-year-old Jozef Dudek of California was killed in May when a three-drawer Ikea dresser "fell over on top of him," the family's lawyer, Daniel J. Mann of Philadelphia, said. Child safety advocates say this was the eighth fatal incident involving one of the dressers. Ikea recalled 29 million chests and dressers, including various Malm three-, four-, five- and six-drawer models, and offered customers a refund or kit to anchor the furniture to a wall. Ikea said, "Our hearts go out to the affected family." The company said an "initial investigation" found that the chest in this case "had not been properly attached to the wall."

4

Deadline arrives for cities vying for Amazon's second headquarters

Cities around the country offered Amazon massive tax breaks and other incentives ahead of Thursday's deadline for proposals for the online retail giant to set up its second headquarters on their turf. The biggest incentive package came from Newark, New Jersey, where the city and state have offered up to $7 billion in state and local tax rebates if Amazon locates there and hires 50,000 workers for the facility. Amazon wants a metropolitan area with more than one million people, and a "stable and business-friendly environment." It also asks for "urban and suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent." MarketWatch says that narrows the likely list to San Francisco; Raleigh, North Carolina; San Jose, California; Provo, Utah; Denver; Boston; Austin, Texas; San Diego; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; New York; and Tampa.

5

Senators introduce bill on internet ad disclosure

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.) introduced a bipartisan bill Thursday intended to force digital companies to be more transparent about their advertising sales. The effort was sparked by reports that Facebook sold more than $100,000 worth of ads to a Kremlin-linked Russian company during the 2016 election, while Google sold $4,700 worth of similar ads. Both companies were able to avoid disclosure rules mandated by the Federal Election Commission because political activity on the internet has been largely exempt from the regulations placed on traditional media advertising since 2006, as part of the so-called internet exemption rule. The senators' bill would require internet companies to disclose information about ad purchasers to the FEC.

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