Iowa Leaders React to Biden Administration’s $1 Billion for Expanding Independent Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity

Inside of a butcher shop with meat hanging up

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.

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Lumber Demand Drives Georgia Home Prices Higher

A beige house in a suburban community during the day

A spike in lumber prices has compounded the state’s housing crisis, Georgia housing advocates said.

The price of lumber increased by 300% this spring compared with the same time last year, reports show. The building material reached an all-time high of $1,515 per thousand board feet on May 28.

The price of oriented strand board, which is most often used for sheathing, has increased by 400% since last spring.

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Atlanta Area Among Country’s Fastest-Growing New Home Construction Markets

Light trails on a suburban highway

A recent National Association of Realtors report shows the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta metro area is experiencing new-home growth amid a national housing shortage.

The area ranked fourth in the country for metro areas with the most single-family home building permits over the past year.

Metro Atlanta real estate agent Allahva Panton has seen a large increase in real estate sales in the Atlanta area, but not so much in Sandy Springs or Alpharetta.

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Price Jump for Used Cars Results in Boost in Michigan Sales Tax Collected

Close up of a line of cars

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.

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Republicans Release Plan to Address Growing Inflation Under Biden Administration

High gas prices

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.

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Surveys: 46 Million People Can’t Afford Health Care, Majority of Hospitals Not Providing Pricing Transparency

Assorted color syringes.

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%.

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Gas Prices Spike as Ohio Legislature Approves Gas Tax Hike

The American Automobile Association (AAA) announced Monday that only three months into 2019, the nation’s average gas price has spiked by almost 45 cents. Ohio prices increased as well, but by slightly less than the national average. While Ohioans may be relieved, experts are predicting that these price increases are expected…

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