Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Chief: Gov. Evers Misses the Mark with Workforce Development Money

The state’s largest business group says Gov. Tony Evers’ could have done better with his latest workforce development effort.

The governor on Tuesday announced plans to spend $60 million in coronavirus stimulus money to try and get more people back to work in the state.

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution to addressing the workforce challenges across our state, so these funds are critically important to encourage regions and communities to develop cutting-edge, long-term solutions to the unique workforce challenges they face,” the governor said.

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House Passes Democrats’ Social Spending Bill After Congressional Budget Office Score

Kevin McCarthy and Nancy Pelosi

Congressional Democrats passed a $1.75 trillion social spending plan Friday, putting the bill’s fate in the hands of a deeply divided Senate.

The bill funds universal pre-kindergarten, climate change spending, Obamacare subsidies, an extension of the monthly child tax credit payment and more wide ranging spending items. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy spoke more than eight hours on the House floor overnight to delay the vote until Friday morning, but afterward it passed 220-213 along party lines with one Democrat opposed.

“We are very excited for what it does for the children, for the families,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a press conference after the bill’s passage.

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In Another Viral Speech, Rep. Schweikert Says It’s About Time to Declare the Pandemic over, and Exposes Fraud and Budget Gimmicks in ‘Build Back Better’

Just two weeks after his House floor speech on financial fraud in Congress went viral, Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) delivered another epic speech, this time focusing on COVID-19 and President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill. Schweikert said the country is about at the point to declare the pandemic over, and he slammed Biden’s “social spending plan” for “economic violence” against the working poor and “laced with budget gimmicks.”

Schweikert explained how the combination of several factors now means the pandemic is about over. Pfizer’s new antiviral medication, which is about to be approved by the FDA, is 89% effective and will be available to millions by January. There are at-home COVID-19 tests and multiple vaccines. He will be putting forth legislation shortly to address this developing situation.

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Arizona Rep. Schweikert’s House Speech on Fraud, Spending, and Running Out of Money Goes Viral

Rep. David Schweikert (R-06-AZ), known as the wonky numbers member of Congress, gave a speech on the House floor a few days ago about runaway spending in Congress that has gone viral with over 1.2 million views. It’s on Social Security and Medicare running out of money and how the U.S. is headed for a dystopian future if it’s not fixed. He addressed several myths and offered solutions.

He began saying he’s about to say some things most people don’t want to hear, “We call it math.” The biggest threat over the next couple decades facing the country is demographics. “Getting older isn’t Democrat or Republican, it’s going to happen to everyone.” But he says he’s been booed for telling people the truth. “You don’t raise money telling people the truth about what’s going on.” Referring to Congress, he said, “We live in a financial fantasy world in this place … there’s a fraud around here.” 

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Senate Republicans Filibuster Government Funding Bill Over Debt Ceiling Provision With Three Days Until Shutdown

Senate Republicans Monday filibustered Democrats’ bill to fund the government and suspend the debt ceiling, days before a potential federal shutdown and possible debt default.

Republicans vowed for weeks to oppose a debt ceiling increase and urged Democrats to put the provision in their filibuster-proof $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. But Democrats have thus far refused to do so, and with their bill’s failure Monday, Congress now has just three days to pass a new funding bill to avoid a government shutdown set to begin Friday at midnight.

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Tennessee Tax Revenue Beats August Estimates by $268M

Tennessee’s revenue collection continues to exceed the state’s budgeted expectations.

Tax revenue in August was $267.9 million more than budgeted estimates, reaching $1.4 billion. The growth rate for revenue was 22.11% higher than a year ago.

The August accrued numbers are for taxes collected from July. The August accruals start a new fiscal year for the state.

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As Infrastructure Bill Heads Toward Passage, Tennessee’s Blackburn and Hagerty Sound Alarm on Debt

Bill Hagerty and Marsha Blackburn

As U.S. Senate leaders expect to pass a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill Tuesday morning, both of Tennessee’s senators, Marsha Blackburn (R) and Bill Hagerty (R) are vehemently opposing the legislation, alarmed by its potential to worsen the national debt.

Senate Democrats have expressed their intention to use a process called reconciliation to avoid any possible filibuster, thus allowing themselves expand the measure to encompass $3.5 trillion in federal spending.

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The Congressional Budget Office Says the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Will Increase Deficits by $256 Billion over 10 Years

The Congressional Budget Office estimated Thursday that the bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill will add $256 billion to the deficit over the next decade, undercutting its backers’ claims the spending had been offset.

In FY2020, the deficit hit a record $3.1 trillion. So far in FY2021, the deficit is $2.2 trillion. The national debt is climbing to $29 trillion for the first time in U.S. history.

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U.S. Set to Hit Debt Ceiling Within Four Months, Congressional Budget Office Estimates

The federal government is on track to reach the statutory debt limit in the fall, which would trigger a government shutdown, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate.

The U.S. is projected to reach the debt ceiling of $28.5 trillion by October or November, a CBO report released Wednesday stated. If Capitol Hill lawmakers don’t reach an agreement on raising the limit higher, the government could undergo its third shutdown in less than four years.

“If the debt limit remained unchanged, the ability to borrow using those measures would ultimately be exhausted, and the Treasury would probably run out of cash sometime in the first quarter of the next fiscal year (which begins on October 1, 2021), most likely in October or November,” the CBO report said.

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California Spent $13 Million to Guard 120 Empty Homes

Several tents on the side of the street

The state government of California has been revealed to have spent $13 million on providing security for 120 empty houses for five months, even as a homeless crisis ravaged the state, Fox News reports.

In a report broken by local outlet Fox 11, the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) paid $9 million to the highway patrol from November 2020 to April 2021, and gave another $4 million to a private security firm over the same period, all for the purpose of protecting the vacant houses in Pasadena.

In a statement addressing the report, CalTrans said that the houses had been purchased by the government 60 years ago, when there were plans for a change in the local infrastructure by connecting the 710 freeway to the 210. However, that project “is no longer moving forward,” the government statement declared.

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Commentary: It is Time to Fight for the Rights of Independent Businesses

As a very young man, I was fortunate enough to start my own company out of my apartment using a small amount of investment capital from friends and family. Over time, that business grew to have over 6,000 employees and revenues in excess of $2 billion. Over nearly a 40-year span, my team and I built what some would consider a remarkable track record, as measured by both sales and profits.

Because of my experience growing that business, I feel a special kinship with small, privately owned businesses and their owners. I also come from a middle-class background, one that shaped me into the person I am today. It is through both the lens of entrepreneur and member of the middle-class that I look through when reflecting upon this Independence Day.

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Commentary: Price Stability, not Inflation, Will Get the U.S. Economy Back to Full Employment Sooner Rather than Later

2020 and 2021 are two sides of the same coin: Price instability brought about by the dollar being either relatively too strong or too weak, which can lead to or exacerbate economic slowdowns, creating higher unemployment and worse if the conditions persist for too long.

In 2020, at the height of the Covid pandemic, the problems included the global economy being shut down plus local lockdowns resulting in a massive recession and a flight to safety into U.S. treasuries as interest rates collapsed, making the dollar too strong. With the onset of deflation, consumer prices plummeted in March and April 2020, with oil even dropping briefly below zero dollars for the first time in history, and a concurrent rise of unemployment as 25 million Americans lost their jobs.

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Biden’s ‘American Jobs’ Plan Could Cost Taxpayers about $666,000 per Job Created

President Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris

President Joe Biden’s proposed $2 trillion American Jobs Plan could end up costing taxpayers more than $666,666 per job created.

The Washington Post gave Biden “two Pinocchios” for saying the American Jobs Plan, his infrastructure and jobs proposal, will create 19 million jobs. Both Biden and his Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg have made the 19 million jobs claim. The source of the statement is a Moody’s analysis, which CNN pointed out had estimated the U.S. economy would add about “16.3 million jobs over the same period if the infrastructure proposal does not get passed.”

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Tennessee Democrats Call for $1B Investment in a ‘Path to Recovery’

Tennessee Senate Democrats are calling for a $1 billion investment in public health clinics, school renovation, clean energy jobs and broadband internet expansion ahead of Gov. Bill Lee’s State of the State address Monday.

In a statewide address Friday aired virtually from her home in Memphis, Senate Democratic Caucus Chairwoman Raumesh Akbari proposed a plan dubbed the “Tennessee Path to Recovery” and called on Republican colleagues to work together to address issues facing Tennessee’s working-class families.

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Ohio Governor Orders Millions More in Cuts to State Agencies

Saying immediate actions are necessary to keep the state’s budget balanced, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ordered hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to state agencies.

“In the springtime, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, and Ohio’s revenue, was dire. With this, reductions were made to the state biennial budget,” DeWine said. “With this executive order, we are finalizing current year budget reductions at $390 million across all agencies, which is less than the cuts implemented last year.”

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New House Rules Carve-Out for ‘Climate Change’ Bills Exempted from Requiring Projected Price Tag

House Democrats blocked a Republican attempt on Monday to require any proposed climate change legislation to also include its projected cost.

Under the Pay As You Go (PAYGO) rule, any additional government spending proposed must be accompanied by tax increases or separate cuts. After a push from several lawmakers in the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, however, the rules package for the 117th Congress states PAYGO will not apply to legislation relating to the necessary economic recovery or U.S. efforts to combat climate change.

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Ohio Ends 2020 Fiscal Year with General Tax Revenue Down $1.1 Billion

Ohio concluded the 2020 fiscal year with General Revenue Fund tax revenues of $1.1 billion, or 4.6 percent, below estimates, a clear indication of the impact the COVID-19 restrictions have had on the state.

Tax revenues in June were $50.5 million, or 2.2 percent, below estimate. However, state officials noted that revenues were better than a month earlier when they were 13 percent below expectations.

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Armstrong Williams Commentary: It’s Time to Talk About Recession

Is America in a recession? It’s an unpopular question to ask, but it has now been over 3 months since COVID-19 restrictions were initiated and it is time for us to get realistic about where we are economically so that we can take the proper steps to minimize further damage to our economy. At this point, the unfortunate reality is that regardless of what we do, it is likely that it will take at least several years to see a partial recovery of economic loss and the time that it will take for a complete recovery remains unknown at this point. 

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Minnesota’s Legislative Deadline Passes with No Agreement on Infrastructure Proposal

The Minnesota legislature failed to reach agreements on a major construction bill, tax relief, or state employee contracts before the midnight Sunday deadline for this session.

The lawmakers could still find a middle ground in a special June session.

Minnesota House Republicans Saturday blocked Democrat’s $2 billion bonding bill. Bonding bills must originate in the House and require a three-fifths majority, or 81 votes, to pass. The final tally fell six votes short.

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Minnesota House Falls Short of Passing Mammoth $2.5 Billion Infrastructure Package

A two-and-a-half billion dollar infrastructure spending package – touted as a top priority for 2020 by the DFL-controlled Minnesota House – fell short of the necessary three-fifths supermajority of votes needed Saturday.

With a final count of 75-58 along party lines the measure missed by a scant six votes.

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Whitmer Creates COVID-19 Spending Oversight Office, Approves $150 Million in Coronavirus Spending

Whitmer MI Capitol overcast

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer created the Michigan COVID-19 Office of Accountability on Monday to provide a check over spending during the coronavirus pandemic.

The office, which resides in the State Budget Office, provides oversight to all spending to fight the coronavirus and will report to the governor and the state budget director.

The Department of Technology, Management and Budget will designate a chief for the office.

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Michigan to Face More Budget Cuts as Tax Revenues Plummet

A storm of skyrocketing unemployment paired with plummeting tax revenue have plunged the state budget into a multi-billion dollar deficit.

State Budget Office Communications Director Kurt Weiss told The Center Square in an email that tax revenues for this fiscal year are projected to drop between $1 billion and $3 billion.

There’s another $1 billion to $4 billion projected for Michigan’s next fiscal year, Weiss said.

Over 1 million people have filed for unemployment benefits, more than a quarter of the state’s workforce.

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Commentary: Alexis de Tocqueville’s Lessons in a Time of Pandemic

The immediate challenge of COVID-19 has been cast as an examination of how individual Americans will fare should they be exposed to the virus. The effort to arrest the spread of the virus has brought unprecedented changes in the daily routines of all Americans. The limitation of activity is apparent when one walks outside. There is a marked silence, regardless of the time of day, almost eerie, that gives one pause.

The check on movement is accompanied by images of field hospitals and graphs showing curves and spreads displayed across news sites. While many are changing their daily routines to comply with the requirements of staying at home and practicing social distancing, a broader concern is the effect on our American democratic foundation.

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Commentary: The U.S. Economy Will Weather the Chinese Coronavirus

American Spirit

President Donald Trump praised the Federal Reserve for cutting the federal funds rate to a range of 0 percent to 0.25 percent, and restarting quantitative easing with $500 billion of U.S. treasuries purchases and $200 billion of mortgage purchases in response to the Chinese coronavirus global pandemic.

“It makes me very happy and I want to congratulate the Federal Reserve,” he said. “That’s a big step and I’m very happy they did it.” Trump has been hounding the Fed for years to cut interest rates to make the dollar more competitive against trading partners’ currencies including the yuan, euro and peso. Now he gets his wish.

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Lawmakers Eye a Huge Backdoor Spending Increase

US Capitol

by David Ditch   Members of Congress are promoting the concept of changing three programs from the discretionary category (requiring annual appropriations) into mandatory (auto-pilot) spending. Such changes would become a huge backdoor spending increase. Spending limits have come under relentless attack from both parties. In 2013, 2015, and 2018,…

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Rick Manning Commentary: President Trump Versus Washington’s Spending and the Constituencies Who Fight for Them

by Rick Manning   In Washington, D.C., every spending program and tax break has a constituency that fights for it.  This is why they exist, because somewhere, someone believes that Warren Buffett needs a wind production tax credit, and that opera programming should be taxpayer funded. These constituencies are tightly…

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DeWine’s First State of the State Address Focuses on Long Term Plans for Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio– Tuesday, Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine addressed a joint session of the Ohio legislature in his first State of the State Address. While he covered several topics ranging from workforce development to infrastructure repair, the speech’s main focus was three key points; the gas tax, greater protections for children, and environmental action.…

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President Trump’s Executive Order Freezing Federal Pay Saves Taxpayers from Double-Digit Pay Increases

US Capitol

by Rachel Greszler   President Donald Trump issued an executive order effectively freezing federal pay for 2019 at current 2018 levels. Had the president not issued this executive order (and lacking congressional action on federal pay), federal workers would have received a 2.1 percent across-the-board pay increase, as well as a…

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Chuck Schumer Demands Climate Concessions From Trump on Infrastructure Spending

by Michael Bastach   Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told President Donald Trump that Democrats won’t cut a deal with him on infrastructure spending unless it includes a slew of policies aimed at fighting global warming. Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat, called for, among other things, making green energy and…

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Commentary: Only Two Weeks Left for Republicans to Get It

by Rachel Bovard   There’s only one area where bipartisanship still reigns in Washington: avoidance. Republican and Democrat leaders this week held hands and used the funeral events for President George H. W. Bush as an excuse to move their funding deadline—which previously expired on December 7—two weeks forward, to December…

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REPORT: EPA Paid $14.5 Million For Foreign Nationals, Not Americans, To Work In Government Labs

by Michael Bastach   The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) paid $14.5 million to foreign nationals to work at agency laboratories over the past 11 years that could have been awarded to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, according to federal investigators. EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) found the agency’s cooperative…

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With the End of the Fiscal Year September 30, Congress Is Running Out of Time to Fund ‘The Wall’

Donald Trump, The Wall

By Robert Romano   The 2018 fiscal year will end on Sept. 30 but Congress is no closer to achieving key Trump administration priorities including fully funding the southern border wall, something President Donald Trump has been demanding since 2017 and campaigned on extensively in 2016. So far, both the House…

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Three Budget ‘Reforms’ That Would Make Matters Worse, Not Better

by Dody Eid and Romina Boccia   A congressional select committee on reforming the budget process recently held another public hearing, supposedly with the ultimate aim of designing a more transparent, accountable, and responsible budgetary process. Any such changes should also re-establish and enhance Congress’ power of the purse. But if those are…

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Commentary: Trump, Reagan, and Big Government

Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump

by Jeffery Rendall   As I strolled through the excellent and memory-provoking exhibits at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library (in Simi Valley, CA) the other day I was struck by how similar President Donald Trump’s approach to today’s politics is to the way Ronald Reagan handled the subject a half…

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‘Pig Book’ Spotlights 232 Earmarks Amid Pork That Wastes Taxpayers’ Money

Ted Cruz

by Katherine Rohloff   All but a relative few farmers and other rural residents have had electricity and telephone service for a generation, but the U.S. government devoted $10 million in the current budget to a duplicative Rural Utilities Service program designed to help pay for energy costs. Taxpayers continue to finance the…

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Commentary: The Ticking Fiscal Time Bomb Set in 1937 Could Tip America Into Despotism by 2030

US Flag

by Robert Osburn   Celebrated this past July 4, America’s founding story of freedom is truly remarkable: unity, courage, integrity, and national integration (incorporating people from around the world). In most other places, the freedom story is bloody, exclusive, and, ultimately, tyrannical. Take Nicaragua, for one example: In 1979, the Sandinistas…

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Trump’s ‘Rescission’ Package Would Save Unspent Tax Dollars

Trump-captial-spending-money

by Justin Bogie   President Donald Trump on Tuesday submitted a special message to Congress requesting that $15 billion in unspent funding be rescinded. That’s a good first step toward re-establishing fiscal responsibility. Congress should embrace it and quickly adopt the president’s rescission package. Still, the package does nothing to claw back the…

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Exclusive: Conservative Lawmakers’ Blueprint Would Trim Nondefense Spending, Balance Budget in 8 Years

by Rachel del Guidice   House conservatives propose to cut nondefense spending and balance the federal budget within eight years in a blueprint released Wednesday. The document produced by the Republican Study Committee, the largest caucus of GOP lawmakers in the House, includes a long list of policy goals such as repealing Obamacare,…

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Tennessee House Votes to De-Fund Memphis ‘Bicentennial Celebration’ After the Midnight Statue Removal Debacle

Using ‘the power of the purse,’ the Tennessee House of Representatives passed an amendment by a vote of 56-31 Tuesday to de-fund Memphis’ bicentennial celebration by $250,000 as a consequence to the overnight removal of two Confederate monuments in late 2017. “If you recall, back in December, Memphis did something that removed historical markers in…

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