MORE OVERTIME: The Senate voted 52 to 47 Tuesday to change overtime pay regulations recently issued by the Bush administration, which critics allege are antiworker. In the changes, the administration would be barred from revising the list of jobs that qualify for overtime. Retailers oppose the Senate changes, saying the Bush regulations alleviate confusion about who qualifies for the extra pay. The regulations still have to be considered by House lawmakers. The overtime issue was tacked on to legislation being considered by the Senate to repeal an export subsidy, deemed unfair by the World Trade Organization. The European Union is levying 7 percent duties against U.S. exports, including apparel, until the subsidies are lifted.
SALES TAX DELAY: The elimination of New York State’s 4.25 percent sales tax on clothing and shoes that cost less than $110 has been delayed for one month to July 1, according to legislation signed into law Tuesday by Gov. George E. Pataki. Michael Marr, a spokesman for the Division of Budget, said the delay will generate $43 million in additional revenues to the state. The sales tax generates about $400 million in annual revenues, but lawmakers voted to eliminate it to make New York more competitive with neighboring states that don’t have a clothing sales tax.
ME AND MY LEVI’S: Levi Strauss & Co. this week kicked off a national search for two fans of the San Francisco firm’s iconic jeans brand to appear in a national print ad. Through May 14, people can enter the contest by submitting a photo of themselves wearing a pair of Levi’s, along with a paragraph explaining why Levi’s is their favorite jeans brand. The company is accepting submissions at its stores and on its Web site at levi.com. One woman and one man will be selected to appear in the ads, due to run in People, Entertainment Weekly and Sports Illustrated.
NEW DEALS: Simon Property Group has purchased the 1.1 million-square-foot Plaza Carolina mall in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for $309 million from a partnership owned by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the State of Michigan Treasury. The mall, anchored by J.C. Penney and Sears, generates $275 million in volume and more than $450 in sales per square foot. Simon also increased its stake in the Bangor Mall in Maine to 67.6 percent and the Montgomery Mall in Pennsylvania to 54.4 percent. Thor Equities, another developer, acquired the 387,546-square-foot Centro Gran Caribe mall near San Juan for $61.5 million. Thor renamed the property “The Gallery at Gran Caribe.” Other Thor properties are branded under the “gallery” name. Big Kmart and Amigo Supermarket (an affiliate of Wal-Mart) anchor the center.