The day’s business news at a glance

Senate Republicans barrel toward tax overhaul

The Senate is barreling toward the most sweeping rewrite of the tax code in more than three decades. The Senate voted 51-47 to formally begin negotiations with the House in an effort to reconcile their two tax bills.

In a concession to lawmakers from high-tax states, the top Senate Republican says he favors expanding a deduction for state and local taxes to enable Americans to deduct local income taxes as well as property taxes.

How GOP tax plans

would reward rich families

Under the Republican tax plans, part of prep school tuition could be shielded from taxes. A larger chunk of inheritances would be free of estate tax.

Any companies people inherit — but don’t necessarily work for– could be taxed at a discount. Stock portfolios gifted by parents could keep climbing. And wealthy parents could enjoy a bigger child tax credit than poor working families would.

All told, such perks could further widen America’s wealth gap.

VW senior manager gets

7 years in US prison

A Volkswagen senior manager has been sentenced to seven years in a U.S. prison for concealing software that was used to evade pollution limits on nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles.

Lawyers spent roughly

90 minutes giving different views about Oliver Schmidt’s culpability in the scandal.

But Judge Sean Cox sided with prosecutors, calling Schmidt a “key conspirator” who viewed the cover-up as an opportunity to “shine” and “climb the corporate ladder.”

US businesses added 190K jobs in November

U.S. businesses added a robust 190,000 jobs in November, according to a private survey, a sign that hiring is strong enough to reduce the already-low unemployment rate.

Payroll processor ADP said last month’s hiring followed an even larger gain of 235,000 in October.

Lyft offers self-driving

car rides in Boston

The ride-hailing company Lyft is now sending self-driving cars to pick up passengers in a Boston neighborhood.

The cars will have backup human drivers at the wheel and will be limited to short routes within the city’s Seaport District, a burgeoning tech startup hub.

Lyft and its Boston-based partner nuTonomy, which builds self-driving software, announced Wednesday that the pilot project has begun.

Accusers take on toxic culture in TV newsrooms

Women who say they were sexually harassed or mistreated by powerful men in television news are banding together to form a support network aimed at changing newsroom culture.

The women behind the Press Forward initiative tell The Associated Press they want a zero-tolerance policy for sexual misconduct at networks, better awareness of legal rights for women coming into the industry and better accountability for executives who are responsible to ensure safety and improvements.

Sinking energy stocks pull S&P 500 to fourth loss

U.S. stocks took another small step backward on Wednesday after a plunge in the price of oil dragged down shares of energy producers.

The losses overshadowed gains for technology companies and other areas of the market.