The week that was: 10/27/13

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No workers, no taxes

In a court hearing related to the city of Pittsburgh's lawsuit to take away UPMC's tax-exempt charity status, the health care giant claimed it does not have any employees. For purposes of the city's wage taxes, UPMC's lawyers argued that its subsidiaries like UPMC Shadyside and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic have about 55,000 employees, but they file separate forms. UPMC asserts those employees do not work for UPMC itself; therefore, UPMC should be exempt from paying wage taxes.

Hard to stomach

McDonald's has turned sour on its relationship with Heinz ketchup. The fast-food giant is not feeling so hot about the close ties that Heinz's newly appointed CEO, Bernardo Hees, has with one of its chief rivals -- Burger King. Mr. Hees is the former CEO of Miami-based Burger King Worldwide and continues to serve as vice chairman of the board of Burger King. McDonald's, which didn't use Heinz a lot in its U.S. restaurants but did use it in some international markets, announced it will be replacing Heinz with other suppliers.

Credit woes

Pennsylvania was among six states that earned a "D-" grade from the Boston-based National Consumer Law Center for having weak safeguards in place to protect consumers from having their assets seized by creditors. While the Keystone State does not do the greatest job of protecting a family's car, house, household goods or bank accounts, the good news is that residents of Pennsylvania don't have to worry about having their paychecks garnished by creditors.

College costs rising

The grand total that families pay for college after grants, scholarships and tax credits are tallied is on the rise again at public colleges and private institutions. The growth in financial aid awards that kept the lid on rising prices in recent years, however, is no longer keeping pace. The College Board's annual price survey found average public four-year tuition and fees grew to $8,893 from $8,646 in 2013-14. Tuition and fees at private colleges grew by 3.8 percent to $30,094.

White cars rule

American car buyers still prefer white as their No. 1 choice for car colors, according to the annual color trends report compiled by Downtown-based PPG Industries. While blue is gaining popularity, white overtook silver as the most popular color in 2011 after silver spent a solid decade as the No. 1 car color.

Tim Grant: or 412-263-1591.

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