Amazon begins sales tax collection in Texas
Described as a big win for advocates of a level retail playing field, Amazon.com began collecting sales tax in Texas July 1.
“A true free market is devoid of government preferences and special treatment,” said Sandy Kennedy, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). “Texas has made a powerful statement that it’s time to end special treatment for online retailers and close the sales tax loophole that gives companies like Amazon an artificial leg up on Main Street retailers.”
Home Channel News readers have weighed in on the issue and are largely in support of a level playing field.
Eight states have followed Texas’ lead and passed legislation or taken administrative action in the past year to help level the retail playing field by requiring online retailers like Amazon to collect sales tax. California and Pennsylvania are up next, with both states requiring Amazon to collect sales tax in September. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell recently struck agreements with Amazon in their respective states, with Amazon beginning sales tax collection next year.
Study: Pay is top reason key employees quit
As the economy begins to improve, employers across the board are finding it more difficult to retain key talent — employees who are the strongest performers, have high potential or are in critical jobs. That’s among the findings revealed by a survey of primarily U.S.-based mid-level to senior-level rewards professionals, as reported in Retention of Key Talent and the Role of Rewards, a report published in June 2012 by WorldatWork, an association of total rewards professionals. The survey was a collaboration by WorldatWork, pay consultancy Hay Group and Dow Scott, Ph.D., professor of human resources at Loyola University Chicago.
A majority of respondents (83%) thought that failure to retain key talent is “very costly,” and two out of three agreed that retention of key talent is a major concern of senior management, the study revealed.
Survey participants reported that the top reason key talent quits is to get more pay elsewhere. Other reasons include a lack of promotional opportunities, the perception that pay is unfair, and dissatisfaction with job and work responsibilities.
“Talent wars are going to become intense, not just this year but for at least a decade, because jobs are becoming more complex and demanding, Baby Boomers are retiring and Generation X has far fewer people who can fill this gap, and other countries are retaining their most talented people with great job opportunities of their own,” Scott said.
Tom McMullen, North America reward practice leader for Hay Group, added, “Top talent can easily compare the deal or pay package they get from their employer with other organizations through Salary.com, Vault.com and O’net.gov, etc. If a company is to survive and hopefully thrive in the next decade, it must learn how to recruit, develop and retain key talent.”
Effective and ineffective efforts
According to respondents, the most effective methods for retaining key talent are:
• Identifying key employees and discussing with them their future opportunities with the organization.
• Paying key employees above the labor market.
• Allowing flexible hours or telecommuting.
The least effective employee retention methods are:
• Providing tuition reimbursement and other educational opportunities.
• Providing pay communications, including total compensation statements.
• Assigning mentors for key employees.
“Rewards professionals are under increased pressure to make counteroffers, increase new-hire offers and offer special deals to retain key employees,” said Kerry Chou, practice leader at WorldatWork. “The most successful organizations moving forward will be those that develop a clear definition of what is considered key talent, identify them and make a concerted effort to ensure that those employees are satisfied with the rewards system.”
Respondents represented publicly traded companies (47%), privately held companies (26%) and public-sector and not-for-profit organizations (26%). Survey responses were gathered from Dec. 15, 2011, to Jan. 15, 2012.
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General Tools unveils an advanced moisture meter
The new Non-Penetrating LCD Moisture Meter with Tricolor Bar Graph from General Tools & Instruments offers professionals and DIYers a powerful and affordable tool, according to the New York City-based manufacturer.
The MMD7NP measures the moisture content of hardwood, softwood, drywall, masonry or concrete. It can also detect moisture below the surface of carpets and subflooring; and locating water leaks above ceilings, below floors or behind walls.
Two buttons on the front of the MMD7NP offer a way to switch the measurement mode to match the material (i.e., hardwood, softwood, drywall or masonry).
The name of the selected material appears on the 2-in. backlit LCD along with the moisture level reading as a percentage. Below the LCD, a bank of colored LEDs roughly mirrors the digital reading in bar graph format, with green indicating “dry,” red indicating “wet” and yellow indicating an intermediate moisture level. An audible out-of-range alarm sounds whenever wood is found to have a moisture content above 18% WME (above 70% for drywall and masonry).