Advanced Materials Manufacturer Plans Cartersville, Georgia Facility

A manufacturer of lightweight advanced materials for sustainable technology plans to open a manufacturing facility in Cartersville.

Hanwha Advanced Materials Georgia, a subsidiary of South Korea’s Hanwha Group, plans to spend roughly $147 million on the facility, which will supply a Qcells facility in the Bartow County community. The company plans to create 160 jobs.

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Commentary: BlackRock’s Larry Fink and the New Post-ESG Realism

As regular as the turn of the seasons, each January sees Larry Fink, founder and CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, publish a lengthy letter on the state of the world and its implications for finance and investors. This year, January turned to February, and still no letter. Instead, February saw Tim Buckley, CEO of Vanguard, global number-two asset manager, give a groundbreaking interview explaining Vanguard’s decision late last year to quit the Net Zero Asset Managers (NZAM) initiative, which had been formed ahead of the 2021 Glasgow climate conference to reallocate capital in line with net zero emissions targets.

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Georgia Taxpayers Have the Eighth-Best Return on ‘Investment’

Georgia taxpayers have the eighth-best return on their “investment.”

WalletHub used 29 metrics to analyze the efficiency of state-government services across five categories: education, the economy, health, safety and infrastructure and pollution, to develop the rankings.

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Nearly 40 Percent of Veterans Reported Concerns About Being Able to Pay Medical Bills

A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics found that nearly 40% of veterans reported concerns about being able to pay their medical bills. 

Overall, the report found that 12.8% of veterans aged 25-64 had problems paying medical bills, 8.4% had forgone medical care and 38.4% were somewhat or very worried about being able to pay their medical bills if they got sick or had an accident. 

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Commentary: Congress Is Central in the Authorization to Impose a Central Bank Digital Currency

In God We Trust

“[W]e would not proceed with this without support from Congress, and I think that would ideally come in the form of an authorizing law, rather than us trying to interpret our law to enable this.”

That was Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in March 2021, noting the fact that when it comes a central bank digital currency – a more distinct possibility after several bank failures have swept across the global financial system – that Congress simply has not authorized such an undertaking.

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Ferris State University Responds to Gotion Controversy

In a video posted on YouTube, Ferris State University President Bill Pink says the university hasn’t discussed housing Chinese nationalists to work at the nearby electric vehicle battery plant.

Pink posted the video on March 23 to dispel rumors surrounding the planned Gotion electric vehicle battery plant. Last week, The Center Square reported that the company – with $1.14 billion of state and local backing – must adhere to communist rules.

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LG to Invest $5.5 Billion on New Battery Facility in Arizona

Another technology manufacturing company is deciding to make its mark in Arizona.

LG Energy Solution will be investing $5.5 billion to start battery plants in Queen Creek, a town on the southeast outskirts of the Phoenix Metropolitan area.

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Future Meals Could Come from a 3D Printer, Researchers Say

Researchers are increasingly investigating 3D-printed food to boost global food production in a bid to combat climate-related food insecurity, Axios reported Friday.

Although the technology is still new, with research necessary for the technique to be scaled up for both industrial or home use, some researchers see 3D-printed food as a way to make nutritious food available and affordable for those who would otherwise lack access to healthy options, according to Axios. Printed food is already being used to make imitation meat cuts from soy protein and chickpeas at several restaurants and butchers in Europe, Reuters reported in October.

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Federal Regulator Acknowledges Danger to Wildlife Caused by Offshore Wind Farms

The federally-chartered regulator responsible for managing fisheries in the oceans of New England acknowledged that offshore wind farms could pose a threat to the local marine wildlife, according to a letter obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Thomas Nies, executive director of the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC), noted the “concerning implications” of a study by researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, which found that the high voltage direct current (HVDC) power cables used by some offshore wind farms emitted magnetic fields that could hinder the ability of haddock larvae to navigate, according to a January 18 letter obtained by the DCNF. The negative impact on both the haddocks’ speed and ability to navigate could result in increased “predation” of affected fish.

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Georgia Unemployment Rate Remains Low for Seventh Consecutive Month

For the seventh straight month, Georgia’s unemployment rate remained at 3.1%, 0.5% below the national average in February.

The Georgia Department of Labor says the Peach State in January had the highest labor force participation rate in the Southeast at 61% and also had the highest employment-to-population ratio in the region, 59.1%.

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2022 Was Bust for Many Pension Plan Investment Returns

Municipal pension plan investment returns were a “wild rollercoaster ride” in 2021 and 2022 with boom or bust results over that two-year period.

Many cities reported record-setting returns in 2021 as high as 33.7% only to find negative returns in 2022. The swing meant billions of dollars to many municipalities’ pension funds.

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Report: Miami Has Highest Taxpayer Burden of Florida’s Largest Cities

Miami has the highest taxpayer burden out of Florida’s four largest cities, according to an analysis from Truth in Accounting.

In its annual report that assesses the financial health of the 75 most populous U.S. cities, TIA found that two-thirds of them didn’t have enough money to pay their bills. Their combined debt totals $266.5 billion; combined pension debt totals $109.8 billion; and combined OPEB (other post-employment benefits) debt totals $168.7 billion.

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Poll: 73 Percent of Taxpayers Say Government Doesn’t Use Their Taxes Wisely

Ahead of Tax Day on April 18, 73% of taxpayers said the government doesn’t use their taxes wisely, a new survey found. A separate report found that red states have the better taxpayer return on investment.

Wallethub’s “Taxpayer Survey” found that 28% of respondents said charities would better spend their money; 26% said local governments would best spend their money, followed by state government (22%), the federal government (16%) and religious groups (13%).

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Pennsylvania Chocolate Factory Explosion Leaves Five Dead and Six Missing

An explosion at a chocolate factory in Pennsylvania killed at least five people, and authorities were searching Saturday for six missing workers. 

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency confirmed the number of deaths Saturday morning at the R.M. Palmer Co. plant in the borough of West Reading.

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Major Automotive Parts Supplier Announces $54 Million Expansion Project in Madison County

Toyota Boshoku Tennessee, LLC (TBTN) announced Thursday that it will invest $54.4 million to expand manufacturing operations at its metal stamping facility in Jackson.

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Whitmer Signs Bill Repealing Michigan’s Right-to-Work Law

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed a bill to repeal right-to-work legislation.

Michigan is the first state to repeal right-to-work laws and restore collective bargaining rights since 1958. Signed Friday, the legislation requires private sector employees to join a workplace union or face termination. 

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Governor Lee Delivers Annual Address to the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee addressed the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday at the JW Marriott in Nashville. In attendance of the annual event were Chamber members, economic development investors, and other Nashvillians.

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Biden Admin in Talks to Potentially Bail Out a Third Bank: Report

The U.S. government is considering backing a potential deal to rescue the struggling First Republic Bank, in a bid by U.S. officials and Wall Street executives to head off the chance of a third major bank failure, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the discussions.

Wall Street investors have expressed an interest in helping stabilize the struggling San Francisco-based bank, which has been selling assets — which lost value amid the Federal Reserve’s aggressive campaign of interest rate hikes designed to combat inflation — to pay out a surge in customers pulling their funds from the bank, according to Bloomberg. While the extent of government aid has not yet been decided, the government could cover the cost of First Republic’s losses or offer liability protection to companies involved in a deal.

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Florida Rep. Kat Cammack Says There Should Never Be Another Bank Bailout

Florida GOP Rep. Kat Cammack says that there should not be a bank bailout after the recent bank failures because ultimately, the price will fall on the American people. 

“There should absolutely never be a bank bailout ever again,” Cammack said on the “John Solomon Reports” podcast. “We saw the failures of that years ago and now we’re staring down the barrel of another meltdown and contagion because there’s poor management.”

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Commentary: Brown County’s $30 Million Taxpayer Loan for Broadband Expansion Deserves Closer Scrutiny

Brown County residents may be aware of a proposed broadband expansion project in their area. What they may not be aware of is the potential cost of this project – “$27.2 million loan at 4 percent interest to be repaid over 30 years,” as reported by the Green Bay Press Gazette. This should raise some eyebrows. Not only does Brown County receive service from multiple broadband providers, but there are additional projects on the horizon and federal broadband funding that is expected to flow into the state.

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Biden Administration Attempting to Bail Out Moderna

The pharmaceutical company Moderna, which has already received over $10 billion in taxpayer funds for the development of its COVID-19 vaccine, could receive even more public money at the request of the Biden Administration.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, lawyers with the Department of Justice (DOJ) offered in court filings last month to “relieve” Moderna of any liabilities it may face as the result of a lawsuit claiming that the company has not paid licensing fees for the technology it utilized to develop its vaccine for the Chinese coronavirus.

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Fed Raises Interest Rates a Quarter-Point, Highest Levels Since 2007

The Federal Reserve hiked its target federal-funds interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point Wednesday, the ninth in a series of hikes that started in March 2022.

The hike brings Fed’s target rate to a range between 4.75 percent and 5 percent with the Fed maintaining its pace of slowed increase. Most economists expected a quarter-point interest-rate hike in an effort to bring inflation down, but the current banking calamities contributed to the possibility of a pause, according to Bloomberg.

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Janet Yellen Says More Bank Bailouts Could Be on the Horizon

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in remarks Tuesday that regulators may ensure all deposits at more banks following the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank depositor bailouts.

Yellen said the bailouts were essential to safeguard the U.S. banking system in prepared remarks at the American Bankers Association Tuesday, referencing the Federal Reserve’s actions in insuring the deposits of SVB’s customers.

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Average Rent Prices in Tennessee Up More Than 12 Percent Year-Over-Year, 35 Percent Since 2020

Average rent prices in Tennessee increased 12.1 percent year-over-year as of February, according to data compiled by apartment search engine Rent. Tennessee ranked ninth in the nation for experiencing the biggest increase in rent prices from February 2022 to February 2023.

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US Construction Firm: Mexican Forces Seized Our Property

Vulcan Materials, a U.S.-based construction firm, says that armed Mexican forces took over its marine terminal in southeast Mexico.

Former Trump intelligence official Cliff Sims tweeted a video Saturday of the alleged illegal seizure earlier this month.

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Costco One Step Closer to Building Store in Mt. Juliet

The Mt. Juliet Planning Department recently voted to move Costco Wholesale’s Development Plan package to the Board of Commissioners with a positive recommendation as the next step in bringing the store to the city.

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Programs, Awareness Campaigns Not Stopping Railroad Crossing Crashes

As freight trains grow longer and more frequently block railroad crossings, federal dollars are going toward removing grade crossings.

“A lot of organizations and agencies have education and awareness campaigns to stay off the tracks, but every year thousands of people still walk along and across tracks and many are killed or injured,” Benjamin Dierker, the executive director of the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure, told The Center Square via email.

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Majority Chairman: $36 Million Won’t Offset Costs of Legalizing Marijuana in Wisconsin

A Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo asserts Wisconsinites spent nearly $40 million on Illinois taxes to Illinois through cannabis-related taxes last fiscal year,

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau Analyst Sydney Emmerich wrote in a March 10 memo to State Sen. Melissa Agard, D-Madison, that an Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation report shows that 50.6 percent of marijuana sales, or $121.2 million, in counties bordering Wisconsin were to out-of-state residents. The sales amount to 7.8% of Illinois’ total cannabis-related tax revenue.

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‘Sustainable’ Electric Cars Are Getting Junked Over Minor Damage

Insurers are being forced to write off many electric vehicles with only minor damage to battery packs, sending the batteries to scrap yards and hindering the climate benefits of going electric, Reuters reported.

Battery packs typically represent roughly half the cost of an electric vehicle, sometimes costing tens of thousands of dollars, often making it more economical for insurers to consider a car as totalled than replace a battery pack, according to Reuters. While many carmakers, including Ford and GM, told Reuters that their battery packs were repairable, many are unwilling to share key data with third-party insurers to help assess damage.

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Workers at Nissan Smyrna Plant Reject Union

A group of workers at the Nissan North America – Smyrna plant recently voted against unionizing and being represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) in a 62-9 vote, according to a report by The Associated Press.

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Minnesota Labor Commissioner Accuses Meat Processing Plant of Illegally Employing Minors

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry is asking a district court to stop a meat processing company from illegally employing minors.

The DLI said in its complaint that Tony Downs Food Company employs at least eight minors at its processing plant in Madelia. According to the department, the company has worked children past midnight, more than eight hours a day, and more than 40 hours in a week, in violation of the Minnesota Child Labor Standards Act. A 14-year-old employee began working for the company at age 13, and, based on injury records Tony Downs produced to DLI, one of the employees who’s a minor has also been injured on the job, the department said.

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Catholic Archbishop at Russophile Meeting Warns Soros, Gates, Schwab Plotting Global ‘Coup D’Etat’

Catholic Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano warned at a pro-Russian meeting that Democratic megadonor George Soros, World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab and Microsoft founder Bill Gates have “perpetrated a real world coup d’etat” for their actions during the COVID-19 pandemic followed by the war in Ukraine.

Speaking at the Founding Congress of the International Movement of Russophiles last week in Moscow, Vigano said, as translated: “We cannot be surprised that, after de-Christianizing the Western world, this elite considers Russia an enemy to be overthrown. The Russian Federation undeniably stands as the last bastion of civilization against barbarism.”

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Perry County’s Largest Employer Announces $10.4 Million Expansion Project

NYX Linden LLC recently announced that the company will invest $10.4 million to expand its current manufacturing operations in Perry County, which is categorized as an “economically distressed” county by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD).

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Janet Yellen’s Policy Would Destroy Small U.S. Banks While Bailing Out Chinese Depositors, Experts Say

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated during her testimony at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on March 16 that she, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation board, the Fed board, and President Joe Biden would only safeguard uninsured deposits at banks whose failures they determine would pose “systemic risks” to the economy, which will destroy small regional banks, according to experts who spoke to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

On the other hand, it will enable big banks to be more reckless because their depositors will be made whole if they fail. In the case of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), this will include many Chinese companies that will be getting reimbursed by community banks, according to Reuters.

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Report: In 2022, Tennessee Saw Largest Domestic Migration Increase in History

When Tennessee added nearly 83,000 residents last year from people who moved to the state from elsewhere in the United States, it was likely the largest yearly in-migration in state history.

That’s according to the Tennessee State Data Center, which looked at the U.S. Census Bureau’s data releases for the year ending June 30, 2022.

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Georgia Reports Increased Revenues in February

Georgia reported its February net tax collections surpassed $2.1 billion, an increase of 8.7%, or $169.3 million, compared to last February.

The state reported more than $1.9 billion in net tax collections a year ago. So far this fiscal year, the state’s net tax collections surpassed $20.9 billion, an increase of 5.9%, or roughly $1.2 billion, over fiscal 2022.

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Report: Virginia Revenue Collections $111 Million Above Projections

Virginia revenue collections are running hundreds of millions of dollars above budget projections by state finance officials, according to a new revenue report published Friday.

It’s a sign Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin says confirms the state is correct in its projection of a “multi-billion dollar budget surplus.” 

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Tennessee Senate Committee Could Extend Memphis Grizzlies’ Tax Captures to 2059

A Tennessee Senate committee will be looking at bills to extend tax deals for the Memphis Grizzlies’ FedExForum through 2059 on Tuesday.

The tax proposal comes up as Gov. Bill Lee has proposed sending $350 million to Memphis for renovations at the Grizzlies’ FedExForum and Memphis’ Liberty Stadium. That is part of $684 million in planned renovations to Memphis sports facilities.

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Connecticut Lawmakers Weigh Tax Breaks to Expand Affordable Housing

Connecticut lawmakers are debating a plan that would offer property tax relief to senior citizens who agree to deed-restrict their homes as affordable housing.

The proposal, which cleared a key vote by the Legislature’s Housing Committee earlier this month, would allow seniors with household incomes of up to 80% of the area median income to “opt-in” to a program that deed-restricts their homes as affordable. In exchange, they wouldn’t be required to pay local property taxes. 

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Georgia Unemployment Rate Increases in January

Georgia’s regional commissions reported higher unemployment in January but the labor force grew in all but one of the state’s regions, according to numbers released on Thursday.

The Georgia Department of Labor says it is an annual trend for unadjusted unemployment rates to increase in January after the end of the holiday season.

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Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway Deal Passes with No Price Tag, Up to $100 Million in Revenue Bonds

Nashville’s Fair Board narrowly approved a deal that will now head to the Metro Nashville Council to rebuild the Fairgrounds Speedway for a price that has not been finalized.

The deal, approved by a 3-2 vote from the Fair Board, authorized the issuance of up to $100 million in revenue bonds for the project, in addition to $17 million from the state of Tennessee and $17 million from the Nashville Convention and Visitors’ bureau reserve fund, which comes from Davidson County hotel and motel tax collections.

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Iowa U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley Grills Biden’s Treasury Secretary on Social Security, Inflation During Biden Budget Hearing

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on Thursday grilled Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on whether she still believes inflation is a positive for Americans and the economy. 

During the Senate Finance Committee hearing on President Joe Biden’s $6.9 trillion budget proposal,  Grassley also asked Yellen whether her boss has it in him to rise about politics and lead on shoring up a troubled Social Security system headed down the road to insolvency.  

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Connecticut Lawmakers Push for Repeal of Trucker Tax

Connecticut lawmakers are pushing to repeal or scale back a new mileage tax on tractor trailers that went into effect earlier this year amid the threat of a legal challenge over the requirements. 

The new law, which went into effect on Jan. 1, requires commercial truckers to pay rates ranging from 2.5 cents per mile for trucks with a gross weight of 26,000 pounds to 10 cents per mile for trucks weighing 80,000 pounds. Trucks weighing more than 80,000 pounds are slated to pay 17.5 cents per mile under the new regulations.

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Housing Boom: Some Maricopa County Assessments Increased 28 Percent for 2024

Overall median property values increased in Maricopa County, with manufactured homes particularly seeing an uptick in worth.

A swath of property owners in the county were mailed their Notices of Value for the 2024 tax year at the end of February. These assessments help determine the taxable Limited Property Value. 

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‘That’s a Lie’: GOP Senator Presses Janet Yellen on Plan to Pay for Social Security

Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana accused the Biden administration of lying about its commitment to working with Congress to protect seniors’ social security benefits at a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee Thursday.

Cassidy asked Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who was testifying about President Joe Biden’s proposed budget for the fiscal year 2024, if the president was aware that “when [Social Security] goes broke in nine years” there would be a 24% cut in benefits for current recipients.

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