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Monday PM February 14th, 2011

Obama proposes hike in airline passenger fees…State support for film production in jeopardy…Landry’s to buy Trump Marina Hotel Casino…Icahn extends bid on Dynegy…



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Airline travelers would pay more to help finance airport projects under President Barack Obama’s budget plan. The president’s budget released today would raise the “passenger facility charge” to $7 from $4.50 per flight to offset cuts in airport grants. Republicans with a hand in writing aviation laws are likely to oppose the plan. Airlines are also fighting the proposal, saying it amounts to a $2 billion tax increase on the flying public.

Lawmakers eager to attract film productions to Texas have proposed allocating $10 million for the task as a time when cuts appear increasingly likely in education and health care programs. The proposals face a tough future, however, according to the Dallas Morning News. Republican State Senator Bob Deuell has been an advocate of state support for film, television and video game productions in Texas. In his words, “This is a time to prioritize, and health and education are more important.” That troubles Democratic State Representative Dawnna Dukes. Dukes says “the immense reduction [from a $60 million budget] will cause television series and film opportunities to flee Texas.”

Trump Entertainment is selling the Trump Marina Hotel Casino to Houston-based Landry’s Restaurants for $38 million. The Atlantic City, New Jersey casino is one of many properties there that have struggled during the economic downturn. Landry’s chairman Tilman Fertitta says the casino will become a Golden Nugget property, but that it will honor Trump Marina customer points and rewards. Trump Entertainment says it will use the deal’s net proceeds to lower long-term debt. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is extending an offer for power producer Dynegy for a final time. Icahn Partners says its offer for the Houston company will expire Friday. The $665 million bid was scheduled to expire today. Icahn Partners agreed to buy Dynegy in December, but shareholders have not supported its offer. Icahn Partners is Dynegy’s largest shareholder with about 15% of the company.

Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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