As Ohio Gas Prices Surge, Vance Criticizes Ryan and Biden for Energy Policies

Ohio Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance criticized the energy and fiscal policies of his Democratic opponent and of the White House on Wednesday, blaming them for the steep gasoline prices Buckeyes now endure.

The average price of a regular gallon of gas in Ohio exceeded $5.00 on Wednesday. That’s a 118.91-percent increase over the $2.32-per-gallon average cost state motorists faced when President Joe Biden took office. In Vance’s estimation, “no one else” bears responsibility for this other than Biden and his “extreme allies in Congress like Tim Ryan (D-13).”

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Democrats Worry About Spike in Obamacare Premiums Ahead of Midterms

Obamacare

As Democrats head into the November midterms with historically low approval ratings, another major factor could arise that will further contribute to the shrinking of their already-slim majorities.

As reported by The Hill, the Affordable Care Act – known colloquially as “Obamacare” – could face a significant increase in premiums due to a lapse in special funding provided by the coronavirus aid bill passed last year. That bill, known as the American Rescue Plan, temporarily increased financial assistance for Americans seeking healthcare through Obamacare; the increase was set to expire just one year after the bill’s passage.

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Commentary: Biden Needs to Take the Blame for Inflation

Last week, President Biden gave a speech listing everyone and everything allegedly responsible for record high inflation. His list included corporate greed and price gouging, Vladimir Putin, and “ultra-MAGA” Republicans. The president said that his policies, and the nearly $7 trillion in spending he authorized, have nothing to do with inflation.

None of this holds up under scrutiny. While President Biden claims that corporations are ripping off Americans, the costs of their supplies have been increasing at a record rate. In reality, many companies that Biden claims are stiffing consumers have actually lost money because they don’t want to alienate their customers by raising prices too quickly.

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American Schools Have Spent Just Seven Percent of Latest COVID Relief Funds

Over one year after the United States Congress passed the “American Rescue Plan,” the vast majority of school districts that were awarded relief funds have spent less than ten percent of that money.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, approximately $122 billion of the overall $1.9 trillion bill was designated for school districts that were determined to be in distress and in need of relief funds. But of that $122 billion, only about 7 percent has been spent in total across all the school districts nationwide that received some handouts.

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Minnesota Spending COVID Relief Funds on ‘Anti-Bias’ Training for Teachers

Minnesota is spending untold millions in COVID-relief funds on controversial education initiatives, like implementing ethnic studies in schools and recruiting teachers on the basis of race.

President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief package included $122 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. Minnesota received a total of $8.5 billion in American Rescue Plan funds, $1.3 billion of which came from ESSER.

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Arizona County Using COVID-19 Relief Funds to Upgrade Emergency Response System

Cochise County officials have approved a plan that will repurpose COVID-19 relief funds to upgrade its emergency response system.

“Sierra Vista Fire and Medical Services and Fry Fire District proposed the Fire Station Alerting System project,” according to reports. “Plans include software installation and technology upgrades for all Cochise County fire stations and special districts to increase the overall effectiveness and efficiency of dispatch centers.”

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Georgia Doling Out More Than $11 Million in COVID Relief to Help Teachers

The Georgia Department of Education is dishing out more than $11 million in federal COVID-19 relief to help more than 14,600 Georgia teachers.

The State Board of Education approved $6.8 million in Expanding Opportunities for Teachers Grants for 19 school districts, higher education institutions and Regional Educational Service Agencies (RESAs). Recipients can use the money to pay for tuition, fees and exam costs for Georgia public school teachers enrolled in approved Teacher and Teacher Leader Endorsement programs.

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IRS Handed Out Over $64 Million in Stimulus Checks to Dead People

An inspector general’s report reveals that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) handed out as much as $64 million in stimulus funding to dead people after Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law.

Just The News reports that the massive oversight was due to a computer error that the IRS was aware of but did not fix at the time. Ultimately, nearly 45,000 total payments were sent to Americans with deceased dependents who died before January 1st, 2021.

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Governor Evers Approves $10 Million to Improve Maritime Infrastructure

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Wednesday approved $10 million in funding for infrastructure improvements at ports and harbors across the state.

In collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), the money seeks to encourage economic development.

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Wisconsin Governor Evers Reverses Race-Based Grants Following Constitutional Concerns

Tony Evers

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers opted to remove the consideration of race from a mortgage-assistance program after the Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty (WILL) highlighted several constitutional concerns.

The group pointed out that Evers intended to expand eligibility for “socially disadvantaged” groups, defining those as “any racial or ethnic group besides non-Hispanic/Latinx White.”

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Lamont Proposes Connecticut Gas Tax Suspension; Republicans Press for Vote

Gov. Ned Lamont (D) this week proposed a holiday from the state’s 25-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax to last through the month of June.

He said he does not believe the gas-tax break can be extended beyond July 1 insofar as Connecticut’s acceptance of federal funds under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) restricts the state as to how much it can reduce taxes. The governor also voiced concern that a longer tax holiday would compromise the state’s ability to fund transportation. The gas tax’s suspension will cost the state over $90 million.

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Governor Evers Dishes Out $20 Million in ‘Healthcare Infrastructure’ Grants

Tony Evers

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Wednesday dished out $20 million in “healthcare infrastructure” grants.

The funds will be used to upgrade and improve portions of the Marshfield Medical Center-Park Falls, according to a release from the governor’s office.

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Gov. Kemp Plans to Use $217 Million in Federal Funds for Georgia Healthcare Facility Grants

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp plans to use more than $217 million in federal money to fund grants for hospitals, assisted living communities and personal care homes.

The state will use money from the American Rescue Plan’s (ARP) Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds for grants to bolster COVID-19 response efforts.

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Ohio Awards $25 Million in Grants for School-Based Health Centers

Governor Mike DeWine on Friday announced more than $25 million in funding for “School-Based Health Centers” throughout the state.

The money, which is from the federal government and available through the American Rescue Plan, will fund 136 new or expanded centers.

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Pennsylvania Senator Toomey Pushes for Accounting of COVID Spending

While President Joe Biden proposed $22.5 billion in coronavirus-related spending this week, Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey (R) urged clarification of how the government has spent almost $6 trillion in earlier COVID relief.

Toomey joined 35 Senate colleagues in writing to Biden asking for a detailed explication of the disbursements made over the last two years which, the authors noted, amounted to the largest allotment of taxpayer money for one concern in American history.

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Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers Awards $25 Million in Milwaukee-Area ‘Neighborhood Investment Fund Grants’

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Thursday announced a new grant for Milwaukee and Milwaukee County that will award approximately $25 million to the region.

The money, which was awarded to the state through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), will go to affordable housing and other issues in the region. For example, child care services and libraries will see a boost in funding.

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Fox Business Contributor and Finance Guru Liz Peek Talks Stock Market, the Fed, Inflation, and Future Outlooks

Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Fox contributor and finance Wall Street expert Liz Peek to the newsmakers line to weigh in on the economic outlook for America.

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Arizona Republicans Pressure Yellen Not to Claw Back COVID Aid

Republican members of Arizona’s congressional delegation have a demand for United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen: don’t take federal relief funding away from the state.

Arizona is scheduled to receive $4.2 billion from the federal government as a part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan; it has received nearly $1.2 billion of that money so far.

However, the United States Treasury Department has warned the state that it may forfeit $163 million if it doesn’t change its actions.

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Biden Administration to Distribute Millions of COVID-19 Tests to K-12 Schools Each Month

President Joe Biden’s administration plans to provide millions of COVID-19 tests to K-12 schools each month, the White House said in a Wednesday statement.

This month, the Biden administration will start shipping five million rapid COVID-19 tests each month to K-12 schools across the country in an effort to keep schools open amid a spike in COVID-19 cases and the rise of the Omicron coronavirus variant, according to White House officials. The new tests will allow schools to double the “volume of testing” from November 2021.

The administration also plans to expand lab capacity to provide an additional five million tests per month so schools can “perform individual and pooled testing in classrooms nationwide.”

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Iowa Attorney General Sues Sioux City, Seeking Permanent Injunction, Civil Penalties Regarding Wastewater

The state of Iowa on Friday sued the city of Sioux City regarding discharge of wastewater.

In the lawsuit, the state asks the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County to make the city pay up to $5,000 per day of violations of state wastewater treatment regulations (Iowa Code section 455B.186(1), 567 Iowa Admin. Code 64.3(1)) and the city’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. It seeks a permanent injunction preventing Sioux City from further violations of these state laws and the treatment permit requirements.

The state said that for periods between March 15, 2012, and June 8, 2015, Sioux City’s treatment facility would only properly disinfect water discharges on days it collected and submitted samples for E. coli contamination to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the lawsuit said.

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Metro Nashville Council Surveying Residents on Preferred Spending of Federal Coronavirus Relief Funds

The Metro Nashville Council released a survey on Monday for the city’s residents to note their preferred recipients of federal coronavirus relief funds that will be dispersed throughout the year.

The survey responses, which will be collected throughout January, will be considered by the committee with the authority to appropriate the funds.

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Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Announces New Plan for $1.35 Billion Funding from American Rescue Plan Act

Tennessee Capital building

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) released its plan to administer its portion of the federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) monies directed to Tennessee, outlining the department’s approach for improved water infrastructure in communities across the state, according to a Friday press release.

The Volunteer State was allocated $3.725 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) which is designed to help Americans recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. A condition of the funding from ARPA is that spending must be obligated by December 31, 2024 and expended by December 31, 2026. The Water Infrastructure Investment Plan was developed by TDEC based on input provided by leaders and experts from agencies internal and external to the state government, the press release reports.

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Virginia Department of Corrections Vacancy Rate Has Grown to 27.4 Percent Since Start of Pandemic

The Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) had a vacancy rate of 27.4 percent, or 1,680 correctional officer vacancies by September 30, 2021, according to a November 15 report from the Public Safety Compensation Work Group. That’s an increase from the average number of vacancies between fiscal years 2018 and 2020, which ranged between 650 and 682 each year.

“There was a dramatic increase since the beginning of the pandemic,” House Appropriations Committee Analyst Michael Jay told the Joint Committee of the House Health, Welfare and Institutions and Public Safety and Senate Judiciary on Tuesday.

“Since then it has gone up about 60 each month and it is now at almost 1,700 vacancies. Some individual facilities have seen higher vacancies, with one correctional facility having turnover of 54 percent in the last calendar year,” Jay said.

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Ohio Flush with Cash After COVID Relief, Infrastructure Bill

Cleveland sign in downtown Cleveland, Ohio

After its major cities raked in more than six billion dollars from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan for COVID-19 relief, Ohio will once again be flush with federal cash. 

The state is expected to receive more than$10 billion from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which is meant to be spent on rebuilding roads, bridges and other public structures, according to reports. 

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Ohio Cities Spending Federal COVID Relief Dollars on Anything But COVID Relief

Of the $6.6 billion given to Ohio cities in federal pandemic relief funds, much of the money has been allotted for projects unrelated to COVID-19, or has not been allotted for spending at all. 

The American Rescue Plan was signed into law in March, providing a total of $1.9 trillion in federal funds for pandemic relief. That money was spread around the country, and cities were supposed to report their expenditure plans to the federal government by Oct. 31.

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Gov. Northam: Virginia Should Reach Universal Broadband by 2024

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam

Virginia is on pace to have universal broadband access throughout the commonwealth by 2024 following a record number of local and private sector applications to match state investments, Gov. Ralph Northam announced.

After the most recent application window closed, the state received 57 applications from 84 localities for about $943 million worth of state funding, which leverages about $1.15 billion worth of private and local matching funds. In total, this amounts to an investment larger than $2 billion, which the governor’s office estimates will connect more than 250,000 homes to broadband internet.

“Broadband is as critical today as electricity was in the last century,” Northam said in a statement. “Making sure more Virginians can get access to it has been a priority since I took office, and the pandemic pushed us all to move even faster. Virginia is now on track to achieve universal broadband by 2024, which means more connections, more investments, easier online learning, and expanded telehealth options, especially in rural Virginia.”

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Michigan Group Pitches Plan to Spend $6 Billion of State’s Federal Aid Money

Michigan State Capitol

A statewide coalition is backing a spending schedule of $6 billion of federal government money from the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

The Coalition for a Strong and Prosperous Michigan represents businesses, government organizations, local elected leaders, and statewide associations. They aim to detail strategic ways to invest Michigan’s ARP funding for future growth and prosperity.

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Metro Nashville City Council Forms COVID-19 Financial Oversight Committee to Help Decide $260 Million in Relief Funds

The Metro Nashville government has formed a COVID-19 Financial Oversight Committee in order to help decide where COVID relief funds are spent. Nashville has received $260 million in American Rescue Plan funding that is supposed to be used to help with COVID response, mitigation, and prevention.

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Michigan’s $70B 2022 Budget Stuffed with $146 Million in ‘Pork’

Michigan’s $70 billion budget for fiscal year 2022 increases government spending by 11.5% from last year’s $62.8 billion budget. The increased spending includes one-time funds from federal stimulus packages, raising concerns Michigan can’t sustain current spending without hiking taxes or slashing services.

Once government federal stimulus money runs dry, the government must either raise taxes or reduce services to continue paying for programs that were once considered not essential.

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Demand for Gov. Ducey’s School Vouchers to Leave Arizona Schools That Mandate Masks or Require Unvaccinated Students to Quarantine Exceeds Funds

Doug Ducey

Just three weeks after Gov. Doug Ducey announced that school districts issuing mask mandates or requiring vaccinated students to quarantine would be penalized by diverting money to students to use as school vouchers to attend elsewhere, demand has exceeded the $20 million he allotted by twice the amount. Ducey announced on August 17 that money the state received from the federal government through the pandemic-generated American Rescue Plan to boost per-pupil spending would not go to any of those schools.

Ducey made the announcement immediately following a demand on August 11 from Republican state legislators to take action regarding those school districts. They suggested that Ducey could withhold federal funds and offer vouchers, which he did, but he did not go so far as following their recommendation of suing the school districts.

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Governor Walz Announces Allocation of $103 Million of Federal Money

Gov. Tim Walz announced the allocation of $103 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds on Friday to support Minnesota students, drive workforce development, and shelter vulnerable Minnesotans before winter.

“President Biden’s American Rescue Plan delivers direct relief to Americans by providing resources to beat this pandemic and build a stronger economy for generations to come. That’s exactly what we’re prioritizing here in Minnesota,” Walz said in a statement. “With this funding, we are helping students recover from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, driving workforce development in critical, good-paying fields, and providing safe shelter to the Minnesotans who need it most before our harsh winter months.”

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Tenants Nationwide Behind on Rent Despite Billions of Unspent Federal Aid

Low-income tenants across the country are behind on rent payments because of the pandemic, even as billions of dollars appropriated by Congress to assist renters remain untouched.

About $5.2 billion of the $46.6 billion — roughly 11% — set aside for the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program has been distributed to low-income tenants, according to the most recent data released by the Department of the Treasury on Wednesday. House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Patrick McHenry characterized the Biden administration’s handling of the ERA program as “gross mismanagement.”

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Jobless Claims Climb with Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Set to Expire

Photo “Unemployment Insurance Claims Office” by Bytemarks. CC BY 2.0.

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims increased to 353,000 last week as the economy continues its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics figure released Thursday presents a slight increase in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending Aug. 14, when 349,000 new jobless claims were reported. The Aug. 7 to Aug. 14 figure was revised from the 348,000 jobless claims initially reported last week.

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Biden Keeps Making the Same Dubious Jobs Claim

President Joe Biden repeatedly mischaracterized the job growth that has occurred since he took office, saying it is a product of his administration’s economic agenda, multiple media fact checkers have reported.

While the Biden administration has overseen the economic recovery during a period of large gains in the labor market, the White House hasn’t acknowledged that states reopening and ending pandemic-related business restrictions is likely the main catalyst for such growth. The president has also credited without evidence the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which he signed into law in March, for driving job growth.

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Despite Criticism, Florida Governor DeSantis Awards Bonus Checks

Governor DeSantis held three ceremonies in the state of Florida Tuesday, awarding first responders and educators with $1,000 bonuses from the for their hard work and dedication through the pandemic.

In addition to first responders’ work through the pandemic, DeSantis’ first ceremony was held in Surfside for search-and-rescue task force members who helped in the aftermath of the Champlain Tower collapse. The last two ceremonies were in Jacksonville and Pensacola respectively.

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Atlanta, Dallas, Tampa, and St. Louis Among the Cities Experiencing the Highest Consumer Price Spikes

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Reserve Bank and Congress have taken unprecedented steps to stabilize the economy after entire industries and sectors ground to a halt last year amidst the public health crisis. The Fed has kept interest rates near zero, created lending programs to pump trillions of dollars into the economy, and bought securities to support financial markets. Congress passed three major COVID-19 stimulus packages in response to the crisis: the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in March 2020, the $900 billion Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act in December 2020, and the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan in March 2021.

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Georgia to Start Accepting Applications for American Rescue Plan Funds Sunday

COVID Testing station

Georgia is still deciding how to divide more than $8.1 billion from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which was signed into law by President Joe Biden in March.

Applications for more than $4.8 billion in funding opens up Sunday. State government entities, local governments, businesses and nonprofits have 30 days to apply for the aid.

The aid will be issued in two installments and cover expenses from March to the end of 2026, but the state has until December 31, 2024, to allocate all of the funds.

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Virginia Businesses Want More Unemployment Insurance Funding to Avoid Tax Hike

In an effort to prevent a future tax hike on Virginia businesses, Gov. Ralph Northam proposed allocating $862 million in federal relief money to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, but a small business association is warning it might not be enough.

The Unemployment Trust Fund, which provides unemployed Virginians with benefits, is funded primarily through payroll taxes from employers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Virginia’s fund dried up and the state was forced to borrow money from the federal government. Unless the losses can be fully offset, business taxes would automatically increase to maintain the fund because of the state’s funding formula.

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Virginia Gov. Northam Proposes $862 Million of American Rescue Plan Act Funds to Partially Refill Unemployment Trust Fund

As part of his “Investment Week” announcing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation proposals, Governor Ralph Northam announced $862 million for Virginia’s unemployment insurance trust fund, depleted during COVID-19.

“Shoring up the Commonwealth’s unemployment insurance trust fund is a smart investment that will prevent Virginia businesses from paying higher taxes and allow our economy to continue surging,” Northam said in a Tuesday announcement.

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Biden Administration Unveils ‘Historic’ Investment for Communities That Could Create 300,000 Jobs in the ‘Near Term’

President Joe Biden’s administration announced that it would give $3 billion in coronavirus stimulus funds to approved local communities across the country.

The program dubbed “Investing in America’s Communities” amounts to the largest initiative of its kind in decades, according to the Department of Commerce. Local governments and organizations nationwide impacted by the coronavirus pandemic are able to apply to receive the federal funds.

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Ducey Invests Millions of Federal Dollars to Start Visit Arizona Initiative

Three people on bikes in Arizona during sundown

Gov. Doug Ducey is investing $101.1 million from the federal American Rescue Plan funding to launch the Visit Arizona Initiative to increase tourism spending in Arizona and expedite its economic recovery. 

“Tourism is essential for Arizona’s booming economy and job growth,” Ducey said in a release. 

He said that when tourists stay at Arizona hotels, eat at restaurants, buy Arizona products, and partake in the state’s recreational activities, Arizona’s economy booms.

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Tennessee Department of Education Awarded $830 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) awarded Tennessee $830 million in funds to reopen and secure schools. The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) earned these funds based on their American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Plan (ESSER). All states may submit an ARP ESSER plan. So far, ED reports that 40 states have submitted one.

According to the ED press release, this latest funding brings Tennessee’s total ARP funds to nearly $2.5 billion.

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Virginia Ends Fiscal Year 2021 with $2.6 Billion Revenue Surplus

Virginia ended Fiscal Year 2021 with a $2.6 billion surplus, the largest in Virginia’s history, with a 14.5 percent revenue growth over FY 2020.

“We have effectively managed Virginia’s finances through the pandemic, and now we are seeing the results—record-breaking revenue gains, a recovery that has outpaced the nation, and recognition as the best place to do business,” Governor Ralph Northam said in a press release.

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Biden Administration Hasn’t Responded to Court Injunctions on Loan Forgiveness Excluding White Farmers

Man in a blue shirt standing in a cornfield.

The White House hasn’t addressed the court-ordered injunctions against President Joe Biden’s loan forgiveness program that excludes white farmers.  The latest ruling came late last week through a Tennessee farmer’s challenge to the program’s alleged racial discrimination. United States District Judge Thomas Anderson agreed with the Tennessee farmer’s take on the program’s discriminatory practices, ruling the program unconstitutional and issuing a nationwide injunction to halt it on Thursday in the case, Holman v. Vilsack et al. Another federal judge in Wisconsin issued a similar ruling last month, and a little over two weeks ago a federal judge in a similar Florida case offered a concurring ruling. 

The Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) and Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF) brought the case with the latest ruling on behalf of Tennessee farmer Rob Holman. According to the Biden Administration’s loan forgiveness program in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Holman was ineligible for forgiveness on his farm loans solely because he’s white. According to the law, only “socially disadvantaged groups” were eligible for the program granting up to 120 percent of loan forgiveness, re-application for government backed loans, and a cash gift of 20 percent of the loan’s value to cover any income tax liability. Socially disadvantaged groups were defined as those with members who faced racial or ethnic prejudice.

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New Tennessee Jobless Claims Hit Pandemic Low as State Ends Federal Supplemental Benefits Next Week

Help wanted sign

Tennessee had its lowest number of new unemployment claims last week since the impact of COVID-19 began in March 2020.

The state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported 4,736 new claims the week ending June 19. It’s the first time that total was less than 5,500 in a week since the week of March 14, 2020.

The previous low during that stretch was 5,789 for the week of Nov. 28, 2020.

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Advocates Say Millions of Dollars Needed to Help Virginia Tourism Recover

Virginia’s economy is recovering, but Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) President Rita McClenny told legislators this week that a major infusion of $50 million is needed to help the struggling tourism sector.

“The $27 billion tourism engine stalled out in 2020 as a result of the global pandemic. Every component sector was negatively impacted: lodging, food service, attractions, business, conventions,  events, transportation, entertainment and recreation. The entire sector needs financial recovery support,” McClenny told the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee.

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Metro Atlanta Leaders to Use Federal Money to Address Crime

Keisha Lance Bottoms

Leaders in the metro Atlanta area said they plan to use American Rescue Plan funding to address public safety issues.

Officials in Fulton and DeKalb counties and the city of Atlanta have announced plans to use a portion of the federal aid to increase public safety or address criminal justice backlogs.

According to several reports, Atlanta and adjacent cities have seen a spike in crime over the past year. State lawmakers have launched a study to look at ways to curb the issue. Gov. Brian Kemp directed $5 million last month from his emergency fund to address the crisis.

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Ohio Republicans Want $1000 Bonuses for Police, EMT, Firefighters

Ohio House Republicans have proposed $1000 bonus checks for first responders who worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Using federal relief money from the American Rescue Plan, the last economic stimulus law, firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMT), and police officers would receive the bonus, which is expected to cost around $83 million.

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Tennessee Proposes Giving Millions More in COVID Relief to Businesses

Tennessee is considering giving over $40 million in additional COVID relief funds to businesses, as the state’s economy continues to recover.

The Financial Accountability Stimulus Group proposed utilizing the funds from the federal government, enabled by this year’s COVID-19 relief package. The goal of the funds is to increase the size of payouts businesses can receive for their losses throughout the pandemic.

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Tennessee Receives $53 Million in Federal Funding for COVID-Related Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

Tennessee announced that it received an additional $53 million in federal funds for COVID-19-related mental health and substance abuse treatments. The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) will rely on that funding for the next four years. $27 million of those funds will go to mental health services, and almost $26 million will go to substance abuse services.

The funds come from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Biden allocated $3 billion for mental health and substance abuse services nationwide.

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