Originally created 01/25/02

Business briefs

HMO gets record fine over prompt pay law

ATLANTA - Humana Employers Health Care of Georgia has been fined $400,000 for violating the state's prompt pay law, Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine announced Thursday.

It is the second time the HMO had to pay a penalty for delaying claims payments. Mr. Oxendine ordered the company to pay a $15,039 fine last year.

Thursday's fine was the state's largest ever against a health maintenance organization.

Alaska reconsiders 1979 income tax repeal

JUNEAU, Alaska - A drop in oil revenue has created a budget deficit so large that Alaska's politicians are seriously considering reinstituting the income tax.

Alaska, which abolished the tax in 1979, funds 80 percent of its $2.4 billion operating budget with oil taxes and royalties.

Gov. Tony Knowles has asked the Legislature for $400 million in new taxes to help close a $1.1 billion gap. The bulk of that - $350 million - would be an income tax that would have residents pay 18 percent of whatever their federal tax was.

Women's clothing store will close after 80 years

SAVANNAH - Women's specialty store Fine's, a fixture in Savannah for 80 years, - will close in March.

The store's lease at Oglethorpe Mall is up, and Fine's owner, Richmond, Va.-based Silver Fox Inc., isn't renewing the lease and isn't interested in relocating.

Fine's, which once occupied a massive downtown store on Broughton Street, moved to the mall location in 1992.

Gateway to shut stores, cutting 2,250 jobs

SAN DIEGO -Gateway Inc., the nation's fourth-largest computer maker, announced Thursday that it will eliminate 2,250 jobs and close 19 of its Country Stores in nine states to cut costs amid reduced sales.

A list of store closings was not immediately available. The company operates a store in the Augusta Exchange shopping center.

Gateway, which cut 5,000 workers last year, or nearly a quarter of its work force, does not expect any more layoffs this year, Chief Financial Officer Joe Burke said.

"We think this gets us to the right level," he said.