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State adds six gas pump inspectors

Six more inspectors have been added to the agency that checks Washington’s 49,000 gas pumps to make sure people are getting all the gas for which they pay close to $4 a gallon.

“We’ve seen a very marked increase in complaints from citizens about gas pumps,” said Kirk Robinson, state Weights and Measures Program manager.

Inspector Tahis McQueen said people get excited when they see her working and realize what she’s doing.

But her department has some good news to report. Of 1,800 pumps checked in the first three months of the year, 94 percent passed inspection as being accurate. Of the 115 pumps that were inaccurate, there was about a 50-50 split between those giving less than they displayed and those giving more, Robinson said.

Inspectors take pumps out of service if they are giving customers less than they paid for. The program is popular with station owners as well, because when inspectors find an error is in the customer’s favor, the state informs the station operator.

The program, which now has 14 inspectors, is paid for by an annual $10-per-pump fee paid by operators. Each pump is inspected about once every 28 months, but the inspectors also respond to citizen complaints.

– Associated Press


Some households don’t get full rebate

As many as 350,000 households are not getting the $300 per child refund owed as part of economic stimulus rebate payments, the Internal Revenue Service said Thursday.

The IRS says taxpayers’ error and problems with commercial tax preparation software were responsible for the problem affecting a tiny percentage of the 130 million taxpayers expected to benefit from the refunds the government began sending out last month.

IRS spokesman Terry Lemons said the agency was confident it had identified all the people affected by the mistake. He said the IRS will send letters to those who missed out on the refund and that checks for the child credit will be mailed in July. People need not contact the IRS or file additional paperwork, he said.

– Associated Press

Industrial output fall greater than expected

Industrial output plunged in April as factories felt the adverse effects of the weak economy. Analysts held out hope that production will revive in the second half of the year, helped by the government’s economic stimulus checks.

Industrial production dropped 0.7 percent last month, the Federal Reserve reported Thursday, more than double the decline that economists had expected.

Manufacturing output dropped 0.8 percent with half of that weakness coming from large cutbacks in auto production with automakers struggling with falling demand for new cars because of the slumping economy and production cutbacks caused by a strike at a parts supplier for General Motors.

– Associated Press


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