Communities Grant Program to Send $45 Million to 12 Connecticut Cities for Improvement Projects

Ned Lamont

A total of 12 cities will be receiving funding through Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s new grant program.

The governor announced $45 million will be awarded through the Connecticut Communities Challenge Grant Program, which works to leverage $74 million in nonstate, private funding to prop up projects aimed at improving livability and vibrance of cities.

“Investing in our communities is a key part of our plan to accelerate long-lasting and equitable economic development in Connecticut,” Lamont said in a release. “This new grant program we launched will have wide-ranging impacts as we emerge stronger than ever from the pandemic, creating new jobs, improving the vibrancy and quality of life in our neighborhoods, and making all corners of the state even more attractive for investment and opportunity.”

Read More

Minnesota Senators Pass Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund Bill

Eric Pratt of Minnesota

A bill to repay Minnesota’s federal Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund passed the Senate Monday and it will now travel to the House for consideration.

The bill, SF 2677, appropriates $2.3 billion from the state fiscal recovery federal fund and $408.5 million from the fiscal year 2022 general fund to the commissioner of employment and economic development. 

The commissioner would repay the federal government outstanding loans and accrued interest within 10 days of the bill’s enactment. For the 2022 and 2023 calendar years, the base tax rate would be one-tenth of one percent.

Read More

In West Virginia, the Enhanced Child Tax Credit’s Lapse Cuts Deep

As millions of families across the country grapple with the fact that the expanded child tax credit could lapse for months, if not permanently, those in few states stand to hurt more than those in West Virginia.

The monthly credit, amounting to as much as $300 per child, has been a lifeline to many across the state, which ranks 49th out of 50 in average income. The expansion, adopted in March as part of the coronavirus relief package, has especially helped those earning the lowest, many of whom were once partially or completely excluded from receiving it because their incomes were too low to qualify.

West Virginia had already struggled as coal mining declined and drug overdose deaths rose, but after being decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, economic recession that resulted and subsequent inflation as the state recovered, residents said that the expanded payments provided a sense of financial security when so much seemed uncertain.

Read More

Democratic Dark Money Giant Poured Millions into Bail Funds in 2020, Some That Helped Alleged Violent Criminals Back onto the Streets

Kamala Harris

A prominent Democratic dark money group funneled nearly $6 million into bail funds in 2020, some of which have a history of helping allegedly violent criminals back onto the street, tax records show.

Among the bail funds that received funding from the Tides Center in 2020 include the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which helped post bail for a man accused of sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl in July 2020, and the Massachusetts Bail Fund, which helped post bail for a woman accused of stuffing her newborn baby in a garbage can outside a Boston pizza shop in February 2021.

The Tides Center reported in its 2020 Form 990 that it provided a sum total of $5.97 million to 23 bail funds in 2020, a dramatic increase from the year prior when it reported donating just $216,000 to eight bail funds.

Read More

Experts Predict Less Economic Growth, Elevated Inflation for Years to Come

Woman shopping, going up escalator

A survey released Monday found that business experts expect prices and inflation to rise at elevated levels for years to come.

The National Association for Business Economics released the results of a survey of 48 economic experts who downgraded their growth predictions and projected elevated inflation through the second half of 2023, if not later.

“NABE Outlook survey panelists have ramped up their expectations for inflation significantly since September,” said NABE Vice President Julia Coronado, founder and president, MacroPolicy Perspectives LLC. “The core consumer price index, which excludes food and energy costs, is now expected to rise 6.0% from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to the September forecast of a 5.1% increase over the same period.”

Read More

Studies: Trump Tax Cuts Helped Lower Income Families, Build Back Better Helps Wealthier Americans

family of three eating pizza

Democrats have argued that the tax reforms implemented through the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) only benefited the rich, and that the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) will help middle-and working-class Americans the most.

But several nonpartisan groups found that the TCJA reduced the tax burden for the middle- and working-class by up to 87% and, they argue, the $2.4 trillion BBBA – before the U.S. Senate this week – would increase taxes on the middle- and working-class by up to 40%.

A new analysis published by the Heartland Institute found that the TCJA reduced the average effective income tax rates for taxpayers in every income tax bracket – but the lower- and middle-class saw the greatest benefits – with the lowest-income filers receiving the largest tax cuts.

Read More

Almost Half of All Americans Say Inflation Caused Them Financial Hardship

Person walking down the aisles in Walmart

Almost half of Americans said soaring prices created some form of financial hardship for their households, while 10% reported that they are experiencing “severe hardship,” according to a Gallup poll released Thursday.

As Americans enter a busy holiday season, 45% of consumers reported hardship at the hands of the recent surge in inflation, according to a Gallup poll. Roughly 35% of respondents reported “moderate” financial hardship in their homes and just 54% reported “no hardship” at all.

Lower-income households suffered the most, according to the pole, with over 70% of respondents earning less than $40,000 a year saying price hikes have negatively impacted their families.

Read More

Phoenix to Use Federal Funding for Universal Basic Income Pilot

Phoenix City Council Building

One thousand lucky Phoenix families will get $1,000 in taxpayer funding a month in 2022. 

The Phoenix City Council has approved $12 million for a “Financial Assistance for Phoenix Families Program,” a lottery-based form of universal basic income that will begin in January 2022 if not sooner.

The program, which has yet to be finalized, will send approximately 1,000 families a monthly stipend of $1,000 for all of 2022. According to a city document, the funds would be limited toward “basic household necessities” such as housing, childcare, food and other staples. 

Read More