The School Loan Revolving Fund (SLRF) interest rate dropped to 1.19% last week, saving some local school districts about $8 million in interest.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law Senate Bill 618 that adjusted the SLRF interest rate.
“Every student, in every district, has a birthright to a phenomenal public education so they can pursue their potential,” Whitmer said in a statement. “With these cost savings, we will have even more resources to invest where they matter most – in our students, teachers, and classrooms. I am proud of the work the Michigan Legislature and I have done to close the funding gap between districts and increase per-pupil funding to its highest amount ever.” Read More
Asserting “student aid should take precedence over school aid,” a new study seeks to address among other topics the funding disparities between traditional public schools and charter school academies.
Released earlier this week, “From School Aid to Student Aid” was written by Ben DeGrow, Education Policy director at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
DeGrow notes the COVID-19 pandemic played a significant role in parents selecting alternatives to publicly funded schools for their children. He also says schools are recognizing the effects of declining birth rates. Read More
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will sign a $4.8 billion spending plan into law to focus on water, broadband internet, and housing.
“The Building Michigan Together Plan makes bold, bipartisan investments in the kitchen-table issues that matter most to Michigan families, including clean water, smooth roads, fast internet, and beautiful parks,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I am so proud that the Michigan Legislature and I were able to come together to get this done. This bill will make a real difference in our communities, support tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, and set up Michigan’s economy for decades of success. It is a testament to what is possible when we put Michiganders first.”
However, she didn’t say when she would sign it. Her office hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment. Read More
A great plague of our contemporary political landscape is that one bad policy begets even more bad policies. Such is the case with many of America’s existing immigration laws.
Federal law, for example, calls for specific enforcement protocols. But our elected representatives have decided that some of those protocols simply should be ignored. This mindset led to ideas like catching and then releasing illegal aliens into our communities, preventing local law enforcement from working with federal law enforcement, and “sanctuary” cities where those who have broken our laws can hide from accountability.
From this witches’ brew of bad ideas has come the latest product rollout, one suited for our time: stimulus checks for illegal aliens. Using the economic damage caused by COVID-19 as a pretext, anti-borders activists and their allied politicians have found a way to sustain those here illegally while creating further incentives for even more foreign nationals to move here. Read More
Goods and services around the country are becoming increasingly more expensive, but farmers may be among the hardest hit as inflation, supply chain issues, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are expected to send food prices soaring even higher.
That impact is being felt by farmers around the country.
“The cost of fertilizer is up as much as 500% in some areas,” said Indiana Farm Bureau President Randy Kron. “It would be unbelievable if I hadn’t seen it for myself as I priced fertilizer for our farm in southern Indiana. Fertilizer is a global commodity and can be influenced by multiple market factors, including the situation in Ukraine, and all of these are helping to drive up costs.” Read More
Wholesale prices jumped a full percentage point in January and 9.7 percent over last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Tuesday, as inflation continues its rapid rise.
“On an unadjusted basis, final demand prices moved up 9.7 percent for the 12 months ended January 2022,” BLS said.
That increase comes after a 0.9% increase in November and a 0.4% increase in December. Read More
The Michigan Freedom Fund is seeking answers from Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson related to her decision to allow Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to disburse questionable campaign donations to other Democratic candidates.
The conservative MFF filed a formal request Friday for a declaratory judgment from Benson – who, like Whitmer, is a Democrat – over $3.4 million collected from 119 large donors. Michigan Campaign Finance law limits individual donations to $7,150, but allows an exemption to accept unlimited contributions if a governor is facing a recall attempt.
At the time Whitmer accepted the contributions, there was no active recall effort. Read More
Missouri’s Department of Economic Development (DED) recently previewed how Gov. Mike Parson plans to allocate the state’s $2.6 billion portion of federal pandemic funds.
In late December, Maggie Kost, acting director of the DED, outlined major priorities for Missouri’s portion of the more than $195 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. A total of $350 billion will be delivered to the 50 states and the District of Columbia and local and Tribal governments throughout the nation to support the response and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The total amount of ARPA funds, passed in March 2021, is $1.9 trillion.
“We want to give you an idea of what to expect as we get into the legislative and budget session here in January,” Kost said. “As you’re planning and setting priorities locally for communities, we want to make sure you have an idea of what’s to come so you can think about how to leverage state funds as you’re building out your local priorities.” Read More
Projects in the rural communities of Clinton, Hampton, Keokuk, Lake City, Maquoketa, Red Oak and Stanton will all together receive $250,000 in Strengthening Communities grants, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs announced Thursday.
The Iowa legislature appropriated funding for the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund for the Strengthening Communities grants. The grants support communities of fewer than 28,000 residents (based on the 2010 Census) that are renovating facilities or undertaking construction projects that promote “youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.” Organizations must present a minimum of 50% of the grant amount they request. The funding must be secured, dedicated to eligible expenses, raised through public and private funding (not including state funding), and be spent between 2022 and 2024.
The funding will support the following projects:
$65,000 for the YWCA in Clinton’s reconfiguration of childcare spaces and youth classrooms to expand capacity and improve efficiency to help increase child care accessibility and provide a safe environment. Read More
The Biden Administration announced Monday it will spend $1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funds to increase independent meat and poultry processing capacity.
The administration will invest $375 million on independent processing plant projects that fill a need for diversified processing capacity, spend up to $275 million in working with lenders to increase availability of loans, particularly to underserved communities, for independent processors, and spend $100 million to back private lenders investing in independently owned food processing and distribution infrastructure to move product through supply chain.
It will spend and additional $100 million to support training, safe workplaces and jobs in meat and poultry processing facilities, $100 million in reducing overtime and holiday inspection costs for small and very small processing plants, and $50 million to provide independent business owners and producers with technical assistance and research and development. Read More
Nearly 200,000 households in Connecticut will benefit from an increase in the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, Gov. Ned Lamont said.
The governor said in a news release that the Department of Revenue Services will increase the 2020 Earned Income Tax Credit from 23% to 41.5% as directed by the state budget.
Lamont said the increase will “provide needed economic support to low-to-moderate income working individuals and families” who faced negative economic impacts amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, says that skyrocketing inflation and long lines at gas stations are a result of President Joe Biden’s policies and are returning the U.S. to the days of high inflation, high cost of living and gas lines under President Jimmy Carter.
Eleven months into Biden’s term, inflation reached a 31-year high and gas prices surpassed a seven-year high.
“I’ve got to tell you the trillions that are being spent, the trillions in debt that’s being racked up, it is historic and not in a good way,” Cruz told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.” Read More
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is calling for the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association to refund $5 billion in surplus funds to Michigan automotive insurance customers.
“My office recently reviewed the Annual Report of the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) to the Legislature issued in September 2021,” the governor wrote in a Nov. 1 letter addressed to R. Kevin Clinton, MCCA executive director. “The report stated that the MCCA had a surplus of $2.4 billion at the end of 2020. In your annual statement issued on June 30, 2021, the surplus is now $5 billion. I am calling on you today to refund money to Michiganders.”
The governor attributes the surplus to the bipartisan Senate Bill 1 insurance reform bill she signed in May 2019. Provisions of the bill include:
Guaranteeing lower rates for drivers for eight years; Read More
Giving people the choice to pick their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) options with coinciding PIP rate reductions, offering unlimited coverage (at least 10% PIP reduction), $500,000 coverage (at least 20% PIP reduction), $250K coverage (at least 35% PIP reduction), $50,000 coverage for Medicaid eligible recipients (at least 45% PIP reduction), or a complete opt out for seniors or anyone with sufficient private insurance (100% PIP reduction).
Increasing consumer protections by banning companies from using the following non-driving factors to set rates: ZIP code, credit score, gender, marital status, occupation, educational attainment, and homeownership.
Setting fee schedules for hospitals and providers to prevent overcharging for auto-related injuries.
The U.S. Secretary of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded a $3.8 million Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Recovery Assistance grant to the University of Michigan-Flint, Flint, to construct the university’s new College of Innovation and Technology.
The grant, to be matched with $4.9 million in local funds, is expected to create 126 jobs, retain 175 jobs, and generate $10.4 million in private investment.
“We are grateful to Secretary Raimondo and the Biden Administration for investing in University of Michigan-Flint’s College of Innovation and Technology,” Whitmer said in a statement. “This grant will help us usher in a new era of prosperity by supporting over 300 good-paying jobs and generating $10.4 million in private investment.”
Mayor Sheldon Neeley welcomed the investment. Read More
U.S. stocks shed more than 500 points as the markets opened Monday morning as emerging risks continue to become the September story for Wall Street.
The Dow Jones Industrial average fell 570 points – its biggest single day drop since mid-July. The S&P 500 lost 1.4%, while the tech-oriented Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.6%.
The sell-off comes as a the result of a number of investor concerns. On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve will begin a two-day meeting, which investors are worried will result in a decision that will pull stimulus funds as inflation continues to surge. Read More
The GOP-led Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer struck a budget deal to avoid a government shutdown before the next fiscal year.
Budget officials welcomed the deal.
“The last year and a half has been hard on all of our families and communities. Addressing their needs – from jobs to education to government accountability – is at the center of today’s budget deal,” Senate Appropriations Chair Jim Stamas, R-Midland, said in a statement. “By working together our divided Michigan government has shown what can be accomplished when Michigan families are put first. Michigan families are counting on us to invest in them. This budget does that by laying the groundwork for a healthy economy for Michigan’s future. I thank House Appropriations Chair Thomas Albert, Budget Director David Massaron, and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their collaboration.” Read More
Rising inflation and the price increases that come with it may lead to the highest raise for senior citizens in decades.
The Senior Citizens League predicted Thursday that the annual cost-of-living adjustment for 2022 Social Security payments could be the highest since 1983. The prediction comes as federal data this week showed two major signs of inflation, continuing a trend that has worsened this year.
“The estimate is significant because the COLA is based on the average of the July, August and September CPI data,” said Mary Johnson, a Social Security policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. “With one third of the data needed to calculate the COLA already in, it increasingly appears that the COLA for 2022 will be the highest paid since 1983 when it was 7.4%.” Read More
President Joe Biden has proposed amending the inheritance tax, also known as the “death tax,” but farmers around the country are raising concerns about the plan.
In the American Families Plan introduced earlier this year, Biden proposed repealing the “step-up in basis” in tax law. The stepped-up basis is a tax provision that allows an heir to report the value of an asset at the time of inheriting it, essentially not paying gains taxes on how much the assets increased in value during the lifetime of the deceased. This allows heirs to avoid gains taxes altogether if they sell the inheritance immediately.
Under Biden’s change, heirs would be forced to pay taxes on the appreciation of the assets, potentially over the entire lifetime of the recently deceased relative. Read More
A new executive order from the Biden administration has accelerated the timeline for electric vehicles and raised questions about the economic impacts of the transition away from gas-powered vehicles.
President Joe Biden signed the executive order Thursday aimed at making 50% of vehicles zero emission in the U.S. by 2030, an aggressive push toward electric vehicles. About 2% of new cars sold each year in the U.S. are currently electric, according to the Pew Research Center.
“The Executive Order also kicks off development of long-term fuel efficiency and emissions standards to save consumers money, cut pollution, boost public health, advance environmental justice, and tackle the climate crisis,” the White House said. Read More
A new Democratic proposal to increase the capital gains tax could cost 745,000 jobs, a study published by the Regional Economic Models Inc. (REMI) projects.
The Sensible Taxation and Equity Promotion (STEP) Act, which would tax unrealized capital gains when heirs inherit assets, among other things, would have a “significantly negative impact” on the economy, including average job losses of 745,000 over 10 years, the report found.
The analysis, conducted for the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, found that sustained annual job losses from eliminating a tax benefit on appreciated assets known as the step-up in basis could eliminate between 537,000 to 949,000 jobs, with models predicting a base of 745,000 lost jobs through 2030. Read More
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed Senate Bill 27 to appropriate $384.7 million in supplemental pandemic relief funding.
Signed by the governor on Monday afternoon, the bill also provides $10 million of financial support for Southeast Michigan families and businesses that endured massive flooding in June.
SB 27 was introduced by Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, in January. The bill combines $367.7 million of federal COVID relief funding authorized through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and $17 million from the state’s general fund. Read More
As more federal data show a major spike in inflation, another top federal official said the U.S. is in for more aggressive inflation for the rest of 2021.
Federal officials have been pressed to speak on rising inflation after \data released earlier this week showed that the all items index increased 5.4% over the last 12 months, the biggest spike since the 2008 financial crisis.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen commented on the rise in inflation, saying it would grow worse this year. Read More
President Joe Biden has pushed for beefing up IRS audits of corporations to raise revenue for his new spending proposals, but Republicans are raising the alarm about the potential consequences of the plan.
Biden unveiled his “Made in America Tax Plan” earlier this year as a strategy to help fund his trillions of dollars in proposed new federal spending that includes several tax hikes. Despite this, a bipartisan coalition in the U.S. House and Senate have agreed to a basic framework for Biden’s proposed infrastructure plan, but one element has been the theme of the negotiations among Republicans: no new taxes.
The GOP pushback against raising taxes, though, puts more pressure on the Biden administration to find ways to fund his agenda. Aside from Biden’s controversial tax hike proposals, the president also has proposed adding $80 billion in funding to the IRS so it can increase audits of corporations. Read More
The Michigan Senate passed a plan totaling $17 billion for K-12 schools, hours before the budget deadline that levies no penalties for late action.
The real deadline for the state budget is Sept. 30, ahead of the Oct. 1 start of the state’s fiscal year.
House Bill 4410 passed on a 34-0 vote, which Senate Appropriations Chair Jim Stamas, R-Midland, called an “immediate priority.” The bill includes $10 million to repair natural disaster relief in cities flooded in June 2021. Read More
Although she thinks it’s only a “start,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer applauded the bipartisan budget passed Thursday night by the Michigan House of Representatives.
The House voted to pass the budget before the July 1 deadline, and includes the governor’s proposal to implement the largest increase in K-12 public school spending in the state’s history. Whitmer’s office claims the $16.7 billion in school expenditures will “close the gap between the lowest- and highest-funded school districts for the first time since the goal was introduced in 1994.” Read More
The microchip shortage responsible for bottlenecking the production of new cars has been a boon for the used car market.
However, the lack of available new vehicles also has created a greater demand and thus a scarcity of quality used vehicles.
This has driven up the cost of used cars and trucks, which has also increased the sales tax collected on used vehicle transactions. The national average increase in used car sales prices is 16.8% or $3,926 per vehicle sold. Read More
Taxpayers are coming to Arizona from other states by the tens of thousands and bringing billions of dollars in annual earnings with them.
The Internal Revenue Service released its annual migration statistics, a record of address changes by filers and their dependents between tax years. The data released in late May reflects changes from the 2018-2019 tax years, which symbolize moves that occurred between 2017 and 2018. Nationwide, 8 million people relocated to either another state or county.
Arizona gained 218,736 new taxpayers in that time. Having lost 152,769, that’s a net gain of 65,967 exemptions from one tax year to the next. That’s nearly 1,000 more than the previous tax year. Read More
Missouri Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick and 14 other Republican state treasurers are questioning President Joe Biden’s administration pressuring of U.S. banks and financial institutions to not lend to or invest in fossil fuel companies.
The group of chief financial officers sent a letter to presidential climate envoy John Kerry this week expressing concern about a reported strategy to eliminate the coal, oil and natural gas industries by cutting off loans or investments.
“While the pursuit of more renewable sources of energy is a noble cause, the fact is that fossil fuels remain critical to our country and the entire world,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement. “The Biden Administration’s failure to acknowledge this will result in increased costs for consumers and businesses. An energy independent America is vital for national security and strengthens our economy which impacts all Americans – especially our poorest citizens who feel rising prices at the gas pump and the checkout line most. Attempts to pressure financial institutions to cut off the fossil fuel industry amounts to nothing less than an abuse of power by the federal government and should not be tolerated by states.” Read More
Michigan budget officials Friday reached a consensus on revised economic and revenue figures for fiscal years 2021, 2022 and 2023.
The state general fund and school aid revenues will total $26.5 billion for the current budget year, exceeding January estimates by $2.2 billion. For the new budget cycle beginning Oct. 1, the agency projected revenues will total $26.6 billion, $1.3 billion more than January predictions.
A majority of that unexpected cash is a byproduct of billions of spending via stimulus checks and boosted unemployment benefits, which led to a spike in personal spending and increased state tax revenues by billions more than previously forecast. Read More
Congressional Republicans grabbed headlines this week after releasing an aggressive budget they say would cut taxes and spending, but key measures in the plan also would address one of the country’s most serious economic problems.
The House’s Republican Study Committee released a budget that lays out several measures to deal with inflation, a growing concern among economists after the latest federal data showed a spike in consumer prices. Notably, the index for used cars and trucks rose 10%, the largest one-month increase since BLS began recording the data in 1953. Food and energy costs rose 0.9% in the month of April, prescription drugs rose 0.5%, and gasoline rose 1.4% during the same month. The energy cost index rose 25% in the previous 12 months.
Republicans on the committee say their plan would address concerns over inflation by balancing the budget within five years, thereby eliminating the need to monetize debt, a process where the federal government prints money to make payments on what it owes. The national debt has soared to more than $28 trillion and is expected to continue climbing under President Joe Biden’s new spending plans. Read More
Millions of American families will receive hundreds of dollars in regular federal payments beginning next month, the Internal Revenue Service said Monday.
The IRS announced July 15 as the start date for monthly child tax credit payments that would affect the vast majority of Americans with children.
“Eligible families will receive a payment of up to $300 per month for each child under age 6 and up to $250 per month for each child age 6 and above,” the IRS said in a statement. Read More
Michigan House GOP unveiled a plan to spend roughly $80 million to support local police departments.
The plan aims to counter the “defund the police movement,” House Speaker Jason Wentworth, R-Clare, said in a Thursday morning press conference.
House Republicans say the plan supports law enforcement, strengthens the criminal justice system and expands community policing statewide. Read More
Rising Republican star U.S. Rep. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is sponsoring a new measure that would give unprecedented tax cuts to parents with children, and now he is saying his bill is on the front line of the nation’s “culture war.”
The plan in question would give a fully refundable tax credit of $12,000 for married parents and $6,000 for single parents who have children under the age of 13.
“Starting a family and raising children should not be a privilege only reserved for the wealthy,” Hawley said. “Millions of working people want to start a family and would like to care for their children at home, but current policies do not respect these preferences. American families should be supported, no matter how they choose to care for their kids.” Read More
An estimated 46 million people — or 18% of the country — would be unable to pay for health care if they needed it today, a recent poll conducted by Gallup and West Health found.
In another survey by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the majority of hospitals in the U.S. have yet to comply with a transparency ruling implemented this year that would help patients shop around for the most affordable prices.
Gallup’s findings are based on a poll conducted between February 15 and 21 among 3,753 adults with a margin of error of 2%. Read More