News MIDDAY UPDATE: GM to cut salaried workers, production, dividend; Ga. lottery sends $10B to education coffers; Atlanta mayor booed at closing of old fire station

General Motors Corp. said today it will lay off salaried workers, cut truck production, suspend its dividend and borrow $2 billion to $3 billion to weather a severe downturn in the U.S. market.

GM said the moves will raise $15 billion to help cover losses and turn around its North American operations, including $10 billion from internal cost-cutting and $5 billion from selling some assets and borrowing against others.

‘‘In short, our plan is not a plan to survive. It is a plan to win,’’ GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said in a broadcast to employees.

GM’s shares fell as much as 6 percent to a new 54-year low of $8.81, then rebounded to $9.47 in late morning trading, up 9 cents from Monday’s close.

Chief Operating Officer Fritz Henderson said GM wants to reduce its total salaried costs in the U.S. and Canada by 20 percent.

A large chunk of the reduction, he said, would come from cutting health care benefits for salaried retirees. Those people would get a pension increase from the company’s overfunded pension fund to help compensate for Medicare and supplemental insurance, the company said.

Several thousand jobs will be cut through normal attrition and retirements, and through early retirement and buyout offers, Henderson said. The company could resort to involuntary layoffs but does not want to, he said.

– Associated Press

Ga. lottery sends $10B to education coffers

Georgia Lottery officials say they have hit a record for money sent to state education coffers.

Gov. Sonny Perdue and lottery CEO Margaret DeFrancisco announced Tuesday that the lottery has transferred more than $10 billion to education since its inception in 1993. The money goes to fund HOPE scholarships and prekindergarten programs in Georgia.

The lottery brought in $3.5 billion last fiscal year — which ended July 1 — the highest take in the game’s 15-year history. Of that, $858 million was transferred to education programs, outpacing the previous year by $4.8 million.

Georgia’s lottery is one of only two traditional lotteries in the country to have 10 years in a row of profit growth.

– Associated Press

Atlanta mayor booed at closing of old fire station

About a dozen demonstrators booed Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin when she spoke at the closing ceremony for Fire Station 7, the city’s oldest.

Protesters chanted, ‘‘This is wrong.’’

The mayor said amid boos and name-calling Monday, ‘‘This is the best we can do under a bizarre set of circumstances.’’

Frankin announced Friday she would close the station as part of a plan to deal with a $14.6 million budget gap in the city.

Firefighters read a eulogy about the lives they saved and the difficulty of leaving. They prayed, recited the pledge of allegiance, then drove away in trucks to waves from the crowd.

– Associated Press


– Georgia's primary elections are being held today. Come back to our Web site tonight for the latest election results.

– Columnist Ed Grisamore will tell you about the coach of an AAU basketball teams out of Unionville, headed for the nationals next week in Orlando, battles cancer.


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