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Examiner
  • It's summer, and gas prices rise

  • The little icon at missourigasprices.com says “prices rising.”

    Yeah, we all knew that already. The average gallon of gas in Missouri was $3.62.4 on Tuesday, having risen 3.7 cents overnight – and more than a quarter in a week, the website reports. That’s also 10 percent higher than a year ago.

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  • The little icon at missourigasprices.com says “prices rising.”
    Yeah, we all knew that already. The average gallon of gas in Missouri was $3.62.4 on Tuesday, having risen 3.7 cents overnight – and more than a quarter in a week, the website reports. That’s also 10 percent higher than a year ago.
    That $3.62.4 a gallon is just off the national average of $3.66.2. A year ago, local drivers were enjoying an advantage of more than a dime.
    Last year, prices in Missouri and nationwide peaked just after Labor Day and then slid until around the first of the year. A pattern of up and down but mostly up has been in place this year. The recent jumps have been sharp. Just 11 days ago, Missourians were paying $3.24 on average.
    Bigger picture: In mid-July of 2008, we were paying just under $4 a gallon. That’s when the economy looked dicey but the full-on panic in the markets that fall and subsequent massive loss of jobs hadn’t kicked in yet. Gasoline prices bottomed out around Christmas that year and have steadily squiggled mostly upward since.
    Goodbye, Gaslight?
    I’ve written in this space about the renaissance that a couple of years ago seemed to be under way at 35th Street and Noland Road in Independence, specifically at Gaslight Square, which for a time had a few new businesses. Those of us who have lived in town long enough can remember when Gaslight Square was a happening place, with a variety of stores, including a German bakery and Herald House, with religious books and gifts.
    Those days are long gone. Now Wal-Mart wants to put in a Neighborhood Market. It would be sad to see Gaslight Square, with it’s pleasant and distinctive architecture, be bulldozed, but it’s sadder to see it stand essentially empty.
    Sleep well
    I got my wires crossed in an item in this space last week. The new business that opened last week in Blue Springs is Sleep Number by Select Comfort. It’s at 1125 Coronado Drive.
    Plugging ahead
    There’s more data to suggest modest to pretty good economic gains in the area:
    • The state of Missouri closed out fiscal year 2013 on June 30 with a 10.1 percent increase in general revenues. Those account for roughly one-third of the state’s $24 billion annual budget. Most state spending comes from either the federal government (think roads and bridges) or through fees (think fishing licenses).
    The biggest portion of those general funds is from individual income taxes. Those came in at $6.37 billion for the year, up 9 percent.
    Sales taxes are a chunk, too: $1.9 billion, up just 1.3 percent. That might suggest slow growth in consumer spending, but state and local officials never fail to point out that Internet sales hammer local retailers and, yes, tax receipts.
    Page 2 of 2 - Corporate income taxes and franchise taxes rose 4.5 percent, to $525.7 million.
    • The Homebuilders Association of Greater Kansas City says the issuance of permits to build single-family homes has shown steadily improvement now for 18 months.
    In the first six months of the year, 1,946 permits were issued in the eight-county metro area. That’s about 50 percent higher than what the area experienced, on average, each year from 2008 through 2012.
    Eastern Jackson County is just a little off that pace, up 43.7 percent. Lee’s Summit easily leads the way with 150 of those 342 permits issued, but Blue Springs has issued 94, almost triple the number of the first six months of last year.
    • Homes are selling, too. June sales were up 8 percent in the metro area compared with June 2012, according to the Kansas City Regional Associated of Realtors and Heartland Multiple Listing Service. Sales of existing homes account for about 90 percent of the market, and those were up 10 percent. New-home sales were actually off 8 percent. The supply of homes on the market was just below six months worth, which the industry says is balanced, meaning it’s not tilted in favor of either buyers or sellers.
    Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s business editor and reporter. Reach him at 816-350-6313 or jeff.fox@examiner.net. Follow on Twitter @FoxEJC.
     
     

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