More than a Half-Million Dollars Set for ‘Equity Consulting,’ as well as Vaping and Motion Detectors Removed from Michigan Schools’ COVID Spending

Nineteen vape detectors, $550,000 in equity coaching, motion sensors, and metal detectors are some items deleted from Michigan schools’ initial COVID spending plans.

The Center Square discovered the removed spending by filing more than 100 records requests to school districts statewide in an attempt to learn how schools plan to spend more than $6 billion in recovery pandemic funds. 

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Flint Buick City Site Redeveloper Seeks $15 Million from Taxpayers

Taxpayers might foot $15 million for a private-public deal to redevelop the former Buick City brownfield site in Flint. The partnership hopes to create 3,000 jobs.

Real estate investment company Ashley Capital is contracted to purchase the 350-acre former Buick City site from Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust and plans to develop an industrial park.

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Lansing Public Schools Plans $19 Million of COVID Relief for Air Conditioners

How does a district of 10,000 students recover from a pandemic that disrupted learning for longer than a year?

Lansing School District received more than $100 million of federal COVID relief. The third tranche of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief was $67 million.

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Detroit to Spend COVID Relief Luring Back Long-Term Unemployed

The city of Detroit plans to spend federal COVID relief to pay groups to identify qualified individuals to enroll in training and return them to the workforce.

Applications are now open through early November for the new “In Detroit Organizations” program to identify long-term unemployed residents and enroll them in a JumpStart education or training program. The Center Square has asked for the total program cost but has not yet received an answer.

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Commentary: The Fed’s Interest Rate Hikes Have only Destroyed $398 Billion of the $6 Trillion It Printed

“Our expectation has been we would begin to see inflation come down, largely because of supply side healing.  We haven’t. We have seen some supply side healing but inflation has not really come down.”

That was Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Sept. 21, speaking to reporters following the central bank’s meeting where the Federal Funds Rate was once again increased 0.75 percent to its current range of 3 percent to 3.25 percent in a bid to combat sticky 8.3 percent consumer inflation the past year.

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Some Michigan Schools Keep Mum on COVID Relief Spending

Theoretically, taxpayers should be able to see how Michigan schools are spending $5.7 billion of taxpayer money to recover from COVID-19-related learning loss.

But an investigation by The Center Square through more than 80 records requests to schools statewide shows how difficult it can be to obtain itemized COVID spending records. Many schools never responded to an initial Freedom of Information Act request.

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Detroit Public Schools Set to Spend $1.2B of COVID-19 Relief

The Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) plans to spend $1.2 billion of federal COVID-19 relief to recover from learning loss and revamp its buildings.

The spending plans aim to repair learning loss detailed by test data the state and federal government released this week showing a drop in test scores, and for some students, decades of learning loss.

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Commentary: $800 Billion Stimulus Program Failed Terribly and Mostly Benefited the Wealthy, MIT Economist Finds

Close up of federal check

The federal government has spent an astounding $42,000 per federal taxpayer on so-called “stimulus” efforts since the pandemic began. Where did all that money go? Well, as it turns out, one of the biggest stimulus programs, the Paycheck Protection Program, failed miserably.

At least, that’s the finding of a new study from MIT economist David Autor and nine coauthors. They examined the $800 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which gave “loans,” most of which won’t have to be paid back, to businesses. It was created by Republicans and Democrats in Congress alike in hopes of helping businesses preserve their employees’ jobs for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. 

The study tracks the money to see where it ended up and what it achieved. The results… aren’t pretty. 

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Treasury Department Has Distributed Fraction of Emergency Rent Assistance with Just Days Until Evictions Begin

US Treasury Dept

The Department of the Treasury has awarded a small fraction of the tens of billions of dollars Congress appropriated for pandemic rental assistance since January.

The federal government has expended less than $3 billion of the $46.6 billion in funds given to the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program, the Treasury Department announced on Wednesday. The U.S. doled out $1.49 billion from January through May and $1.5 billion in June to low-income renters nationwide, according to a spreadsheet published by the Treasury.

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Alabama Becomes Latest State to End $300 Unemployment Bonus

Close up of federal check

Alabama will soon cease participating in the federal government’s unemployment insurance program that grants out-of-work Americans an extra $300 per week, the state’s governor said.

Republican Gov. Kay Ivey announced that the state would withdraw from the coronavirus relief program by June 19, 2021, arguing that the $300 in additional weekly payments was incentivizing people not to look for jobs. She suggested that the labor shortages reported in states across the country have been caused by the unemployment boost.

“As Alabama’s economy continues its recovery, we are hearing from more and more business owners and employers that it is increasingly difficult to find workers to fill available jobs, even though job openings are abundant,” Ivey said in a statement.

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Commentary: Federal ‘COVID’ Spending Just Hit $41,870 Per Taxpayer

President Biden just signed his sweeping $1.9 trillion spending package into law. Once this bill hits the books, total taxpayer expenditure on (ostensibly) COVID relief will hit $6 trillion—which, roughly estimated, comes out to $41,870 in spending per federal taxpayer. 

Did you see anywhere near that much in benefit? 

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Billions of Coronavirus Stimulus Money Still Hasn’t Been Spent, Republican Senators Say in Letter to Biden

US Capitol

A group of ten Republican senators outlined a less expensive coronavirus relief compromise bill and said much of the past stimulus passed during the pandemic hasn’t been spent yet.

The proposed stimulus framework builds on prior legislation that passed with bipartisan support, the 10 senators wrote in the letter Sunday. The group, which included Sens. Mitt Romney, Thom Tillis, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, also requested a meeting with President Joe Biden to discuss the bill.

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Commentary: The Constitutional Politics of President Trump’s Impoundment Move

To understand President Trump’s signing of the latest so-called COVID-19 “stimulus” bill after days of veto threats, we need to understand the critical constitutional history of the Watergate era. 

Citing the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, Trump declared, “I will sign the Omnibus and COVID package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed. I will send back to Congress a redlined version, item by item, accompanied by the formal rescission request to Congress insisting that those funds be removed from the bill.” 

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