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BC-Business News Digest

â¿¿ FISCAL CLIFF-GLANCE â¿¿ Highlights of legislation aimed at averting wide tax increases and budget cuts scheduled to take effect with the new year.

Also:

SMALLBIZ-SMALL TALK

NEW YORK â¿¿ The fiscal cliff deal in Congress has removed a layer of uncertainty for small business owners. Some say they're now able to hire staffers and buy equipment, moves that were on hold because of the debate in Washington. But owners still have much to be anxious about. The deal puts off for two months decisions on federal budget cuts, which could mean less business for companies that have contracts with the government. The ongoing budget fight in Washington could also further stress the weak economic recovery. By Joyce M. Rosenberg.

AP photo

AVIS-ZIPCAR

PARSIPPANY, N.J. â¿¿ Avis Budget is buying Zipcar for $491 million, expanding its offerings to car sharing. The service has become a popular alternative to traditional car rentals in cities and on college campuses.

AP photo

BROKEN BUDGETS-MUNICIPAL PENSIONS

PROVIDENCE, R.I. â¿¿ In Philadelphia, pension costs doubled in a single decade. Cities in Rhode Island dimmed streetlights, raised taxes and put off road repairs. Stockton, Calif., fell into bankruptcy. Unpaid bills from decades of retirement promises made to public workers, combined with a lackluster economy and steep Wall Street losses, have built up a financial mountain that threatens to undermine budgets and operations in cities and counties across the country. While it's not gotten the attention of the fiscal cliff in Washington, the pension crisis at City Hall could have similar effects as mayors are forced to raise taxes, cut government services or renege on pension promises made to police officers, firefighters, teachers and other public workers. By David Klepper.

With:

â¿¿ BROKEN BUDGETS-MUNICIPAL PENSIONS-GLANCE â¿¿ From Atlanta to San Diego: The pension problems that threaten 7 cities' budgets

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