Practically half in RI do not belief stimulus cash might be spent properly

Rhode Islanders are skeptical that heads of state will wisely spend the coming gust of federal pandemic aid and would be happiest if it were used for small business grants and improved school programs, according to a poll by Bryant’s Hassenfeld Institute on Wednesday University was published.

In the telephone poll of 400 Rhode Island voters, 48% of respondents said they do not “trust” elected officials in Rhode Island to wisely spend more than $ 2 billion on the US bailout plan. For comparison, 41% said they trusted these officials to make smart fiscal decisions with the money, and 11% weren’t sure.

Unsurprisingly, in a Democratic-dominated state, the question was largely partisan. 60% of Democrats said they expected the money to be spent wisely, compared with 31% of Independents and only 13% of Republicans.

The survey was conducted by Fleming & Associates between April 25 and April 28.

Respondents were asked if they could choose between some of the ways in which heads of state could spend the money. However, respondents were split, but small business help was the most popular idea.

35 percent of respondents said “grants and loans to help small businesses affected by the pandemic” are the top potential use of federal funds for them.

For comparison: 16% said that rent subsidies were the top priority for low-income tenants, 17% said they reverse student learning losses caused by the pandemic, 14% chose vocational training as best use, 9% said one-off infrastructure projects and 5% decided advocate the elimination of budget deficits.

At the local level, 42% of respondents said that improving public school programs was their top priority, followed by 20% who opted for eliminating property tax increases, 16% for one-off infrastructure projects, 11% for advanced services for seniors and 8 % new police and fire engines.

When the state decides to spend the majority of the incentives on infrastructure projects, respondents were almost equally likely to prioritize “very important” school buildings (33%), affordable housing (32%), roads and bridges (32%) and clean energy (30%) . 23% of respondents said high-speed internet is very important, compared with 13% for state parks and beeches improvement and 9% for industrial parks development.

panderson@providencejournal.com

(401) 277-7384

On Twitter: @PatrickAnderso_

Chelsea gave cash to over 2,000 households. Here is how they spent it.

Last fall, in the middle of the second COVID-19 surge, the city of Chelsea brought to life The largest guaranteed income project in the country, shifting relief efforts from community food distribution locations to simply transferring money to thousands of residents in the hardest hit community – with no restrictions.

The program was synchronized with the help of local non-profit organizations Chelsea eats – Almost every eighth household in Chelsea gave a debit card between $ 200 and $ 400, which was fully replenished every month for six months, depending on household size. The cards can be used anywhere that Visa is accepted. The residents could spend the money almost anywhere.

However, a new study suggests that the program worked as proponents intended.

A Report released on Monday Harvard Kennedy School’s Rappaport Institute for the greater Boston area found approximately $ 1.5 million – or 73.3 percent – of the $ 2.1 million distributed through the Chelsea Eats program in grocery stores, markets , Restaurants and other places where food is the main product. Supporters say the results help emerging research from similar experiments with guaranteed income that the recipients use the money for basic needs such as food.

“Government programs are most effective when they give people the tools and the freedom of choice to make the best decisions for themselves and their families,” said Jill Shah, president of the Shah Family Foundation, which finances and manages the Chelsea Eats. Program has contributed.

The initiative – which was funded primarily by the City of Chelsea from government COVID-19 relief funds, along with minor contributions from the Shah Family Foundation, Massachusetts General Hospital Center to Improve Community Health, and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley – Financed debit cards for 2,074 households at risk from mid-November to April. Most of the recipients reported Job loss or financial difficulties due to the pandemic.

While Monday’s new report doesn’t show exactly what recipients bought, researchers were generally able to categorize spend based on supplier data on the cards – with grocers being the clear market leaders. The researchers said the results were not surprising since “the applicants were largely recruited from users of the pantry”.

“While it is likely that most of these purchases will be groceries, it is of course possible to purchase many other items, such as cleaning supplies, from these locations,” they wrote in the report.

Almost exactly 50 percent of the expenditure was made in grocery chains. In fact, 32 percent of all spending at Market Basket was made, “mostly at the Chelsea location,” the report said.

Another 11.6 percent was spent in wholesale chains like BJ’s and Costco, and just over 5 percent of the spending was in local grocery stores and convenience stores. Almost 7 percent of the money went to local restaurants, with Dunkin ‘and McDonalds leading the way.

The researchers noted that they are working on conducting a more detailed survey of beneficiaries to assess “the extent to which the program is leading to greater food adequacy and a reduction in food insecurity”.

Retail made up nearly 21 percent of spending, with big names like Walmart, Target, Burlington Stores, Amazon, Family Dollar, CVS, and TJ Maxx making up more than half of the spending in that category.

A little more than 4 percent of spending went to providers classified as “Utilities and Professional Services”, mostly utilities like Comcast, Eversource and National Grid, or cellular operators like T-Mobile, MetroPCS and AT&T. A significant minority ” previously reported in their survey that they were lagging behind due to overdue payments on bills or the phone was disconnected.

Transportation costs such as gasoline, MBTA tariffs and carpooling made up 1.3 percent of the expenditure. And only 0.4 percent came from liquor stores and smoke shops, although the authors admitted that alcohol and cigarettes can be bought in grocery stores and convenience stores, so spending on these products could be “a little higher”.

They also found that only $ 1,947 was spent on rent – despite the pandemic additional pressure on the city’s housing market – probably because only a few landlords accept Visa.

Harvard Professor Jeffrey Liebman, director of the Rappaport Institute, described the program as an overall achievement in “helping Chelsea families buy groceries and other essentials”. He also noticed that the size of the program – which was significantly larger than that well-known project with a guaranteed income of 125 recipients in Stockton, California – “shows that direct payments can be delivered on a large scale.”

Chelsea City manager Tom Ambrosino told Boston.com in an email Monday that the city is hoping to find a way to extend the six-month program – or in some form or another. However, funding remains a challenge.

“We just need more money,” said Ambrosino. “I’m currently working with the Shah Foundation and the Council to find out.”

The program is currently funded until the beginning of summer. According to the Shah Foundation, they expect more news on this front in the coming weeks.

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The 7 craziest issues Jeff Bezos has spent his cash on

As the richest man in the world and the first person to reach a net worth of $ 200 billion, Jeff Bezos has made a number of extravagant purchases in his life.

Most recently, the billionaire added a $ 500 million super yacht to this list.

The 417 foot long ship will span multiple decks and have three huge masts – and will also come with its own support yacht, which is equipped with a helipad, reported Bloomberg Wealth.

More specific details of the mega-yacht, which was ordered before the pandemic and is expected to be ready soon, are secret, but many of the The Amazon founder’s previous purchases are not.

Here’s a roundup of the most noticeable things Bezos has spent his money on over the years.

A massive clock that ticks once a year

In 2018, Bezos unveiled a $ 42 million investment in a “10,000-year-old” watch designed to symbolize “long-term thinking”. He wrote in a tweet at the time.

The 500-foot-high mechanical clock is powered by day and night heat cycles and synchronized at lunchtime.

The clock, That is still under construction, is rated for a life of 10,000 years and is located on property owned by Bezos, Texas. MensXP reported.

The largest real estate business ever in New York City

Soon after Bezos split from ex-wife MacKenzie Scott, he celebrated the divorce by having three apartments overlooking Madison Square Park at 212 Fifth Ave. bought for $ 80 million – The largest apartment listing ever completed in the Big Apple.

Jeff Bezos' penthouse living room.After his divorce, Jeff Bezos bought four apartments to combine them into one large penthouse.Sotheby’s

However, the massive purchase was still not enough for the billionaire, so he bought a fourth apartment for $ 16 million so that he could combine them all from the 20th floor into a massive penthouse with an area of ​​23,000 square meters and three floors .

Jeff Bezos' penthouse kitchen.The three-story penthouse is the largest apartment business in NYC.Sotheby’s

The property has a sprawling 5,000 square foot roof terrace with a pool and at least half a dozen bedrooms.

Jeff Bezos' apartment terrace.The apartment has a 5,000 square meter roof terrace.Sotheby’s

One of the fastest airliners in the world

Bezos put in a whopping $ 65 million – plus an undisclosed amount for interior decorating – for a Gulfstream G-650ER, one of the fastest jets in the world, MensXP reported.

Gulfstream G650ERThe Gulfstream G-650ER is one of the fastest jets in the world.Alamy Stock Photo

While most billionaires own private jets, the businessman can fly around the globe faster than most on the Gulfstream when flying between Amazon’s Seattle headquarters and anywhere Bezos needs to go.

A historical museum that he wanted to have as his homee

In 2016, Bezos decided to buy the old Washington Textile Museum for $ 23 million to convert the 27,000-square-foot building into a private home.

Bought the old textile museum by Jeff Bezos.Jeff Bezos bought the old Washington Textile Museum to be converted into a private home.The Washington Post via Getty Images

With the purchase of the museum, he also helped save history for years to come by helping to build a new home for the exhibits at George Washington University, MensXP reported.

The Whole Foods Market grocery chain

To compete with the grocery giants and breathe life into Amazon’s volatile grocery delivery service, Amazon Fresh, Bezos decided to buy Whole Foods’ entire grocery chain for a whopping $ 13.7 billion.

Midtown whole foods market.Jeff Bezos bought Whole Foods to bolster Amazon Fresh.Getty Images

When asked why he made the investment, the billionaire cited the store’s excellent products and their ability to make healthy eating for fun.

His own missile company

Much like Elon Musk, Bezos has long wanted to make space travel profitable and has decided to invest about $ 1 billion annually in Blue Origin, a passion project for the billionaire. GQ India reported.

Jeff Bezos makes his debut with a Blue Origin launcher.Jeff Bezos invests $ 1 billion a year in Blue Origin.Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Blue Origin tries to build reusable space rockets. This is the only way the company believes it can reduce the cost of accessing space.

Most of the funding for Blue Origin comes from the liquidation of Amazon stocks. At an event in 2019, Bezos thanked customers for their contributions to making his space dream come true, the outlet reported.

Jeff Bezos announces Blue Moon, a lunar landing vehicle.Jeff Bezos announces Blue Moon, a lunar landing vehicle, during a Blue Origin event.AFP via Getty Images

“Every time you buy shoes you are helping fund Blue Origin. Thank you,” he said at the time.

“I appreciate it very much.”

A newspaper

In a rapidly digitizing world, the long-term future of print news has deteriorated over the past two decades – but that hasn’t stopped Bezos from spending $ 250 million buying the Washington Post to save it from extinction.

The Washington Post building in Washington, DCJeff Bezos bought the Washington Post back in 2013.Sipa USA via AP

The 2013 deal made Bezos the owner of the flagship paper of the Washington Post Co. and a number of other local partners and websites.

Texans spent most cash per defensive stat in 2020

In a 4-12 season, the Houston Texans had possibly the worst defensive team in the league.

The Texans ended the 2020 season almost at the end of every defensive category. They allowed the third highest total length, giving up an average of 416.8 meters per game as their opponents averaged 29.0 points.

“Last year just felt like the defense, it just wasn’t tight enough,” Security Justin Reid told reporters on an April 23 call to Zoom. We tried to put some emphasis on the ball, but we simply didn’t work well enough last year. “

The defensive results presented weekly have been appalling, but that doesn’t mean the Texans haven’t put money into their defenses.

According to Lines.comThe Texans spent the most money on defense stats last season. The average margin NFL teams spent on defensive stats was $ 2.1 million in 2020. Meanwhile, Texans were spending the most money at $ 3.38 million.

However, Texans could get more bang for their buck in 2021 with new defensive coordinator Lovie Smith.

The first thing Coach Smith said, and he did the big presentation at an OTA meeting, was that we’re going to get the ball, ”Reid said. “That was a focus in every meeting they talked about. We have set ourselves the goal of how often we want to hit the ball at all. This is the first time I’ve seen that we are just tracking strip trials and striking trials – tracking all of that. I really try to give the guys a focus to keep track of the ball and make sales because these are game changing situations. “

Houston was last dead in the NFL with nine takeaways. Her run defense was similarly lazy at 5.2 yards per carry given.

Evers guarantees particulars quickly on how federal cash to be spent

MADISON, Wisconsin (AP) – Governor Tony Evers announced Tuesday that within weeks, with no input from Republican lawmakers, he would announce how he will spend all $ 3.2 billion on federal coronavirus bailout funds that come after Wisconsin come.

State law gives the governor, a Democrat, control over how the money is to be spent. The Republican-controlled legislation passed laws ordering the money to be spent on lowering property taxes, funding local road projects, and other areas, but Evers vetoed them all. He also vetoed a bill that would have required an issue of the money to go through the legislation.

When asked at a press conference whether he would discuss his plans for spending the money with Republican leaders, Evers said it was not a “top priority”.

“Getting the money out the door is the top priority,” he said.

Evers said he received a call to the federal government later Tuesday to discuss the schedule for the cash out, and details of his plans could be revealed soon.

“We expect to get the information we need in a few weeks,” said Evers.

Evers has already announced that up to $ 420 million of this money, which will flow into the state, will be used for a small business grant program. He has promised to spend $ 600 million of federal funds on small businesses. He has also promised to spend $ 50 million on tourism, $ 200 million on infrastructure including broadband access, and $ 500 million on pandemic action, but has not released details.

Republicans who oversee the Legislature’s Budgets Committee have said that the next biennial budget will be made more difficult by the fact that Evers does not yet say how all of the federal money will be spent. The Joint Finance Committee will hold a fully virtual final public hearing on the budget on Wednesday.

“The Joint Finance Committee will be able to work on the budget,” said Evers.

The legislature’s budget committee is expected to vote on Evers’ budget proposal as early as next week. The spending plan runs from July to June 2023. It also needs to pass legislation and be signed by Evers, who has extensive veto rights, before it becomes law.

___

Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sbauerAP

Cellular testing unit was cash effectively spent

Officials at the Community Health Center in central Missouri said around 200 people received their first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines thanks to a mobile unit that went live earlier this year.

In November, the Cole County Commission approved federal funding of a Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act for a 37-foot mobile trailer for COVID-19 testing, which could also be used to distribute COVID-19 vaccines. The total cost was $ 328,893. The unit arrived in January.

“We were also able to run about 200 COVID tests in the mobile unit,” said Crystal Sullivan, the centre’s chief clinical officer. “We were with the Salvation Army on Jefferson Street. We set up four different Jefferson City Housing Authority facilities, a nursing home and a behavioral health facility. We also went to home patients and gave them vaccinations.”

Sullivan said the unit had two fully equipped exam rooms, just like those available at the center on Christy Drive, along with other clinical equipment, including a freezer for storing vaccines.

When they recently ran clinics, Sullivan said they had patients reluctant to receive the COVID-19 vaccines.

“At first we had a lot of people interested in the vaccines, but we see them wear off a bit,” Sullivan said. “We know there are many people who have concerns or questions.”

Sullivan said they spoke to representatives from the Missouri NAACP, Missouri Faith Voices, Mid-Missouri Black Nurses Association, and others to offer support as they work to get people beyond vaccine hesitation.

“We hear it every day in the office, and for those with these concerns, it’s important to speak to people in your life who you trust,” she said.

This could be a doctor, a pastor, a family member, or a friend.

Sullivan said there is a lot of information on the internet and it can be difficult to determine what is trustworthy.

The idea of ​​a mobile unit was discussed several months after the pandemic started. However, the original proposal came when health center officials determined that the original mobile unit they requested would not be available by the end of the year, which would have excluded them from using federal COVID aid funds to purchase. They opted for another unit that could arrive in time for federal funding, and the County Commission approved the purchase.

“This will be available to the community for years to come,” Sullivan said. “We can’t just use it for testing and vaccination clinics. We could set up a mobile clinic to offer help to people with high blood pressure or diabetes.”

One of the uses Sullivan sees for the device is the annual Homeless Connect project. The meeting is designed to connect the homeless population of Jefferson City with shelter or shelter, counseling, food and clothing donations, ID cards, medical and health screening, and other services.

The Community Health Center serves Cole, Callaway, Moniteau, and Osage counties.

“If there is a need in mid-Missouri, we stand ready to take this unit wherever that need is,” said Sullivan.

Alvin Kamara says he hasn’t spent any of his soccer cash

Getty Images

Like long-time NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski, four year veteran runs back Alvin Kamara found a way to pay his bills without touching his football money.

Kamara appeared on Uninterrupted’s Kneading Dough series and said he did none of the money spent yet He deserves to play professional football.

“I got my signing bonus and I went and got some wings and thought, ‘Man, I’m not spending any of this money. ‘. . . I still haven’t spent $ 1 of my football money – new money or rookie contract money, ”Kamara said of Bleacher Report.

A player like Kamara who makes money on advertising contracts can live on that revenue while transferring the football money. The challenge then is to get the football money to a place where it can earn good interest but the client remains safe.

It’s a good lesson for anyone who suddenly has a lot of money. It is very tempting to have a number of large expenditures. It is wise to save as much of it as possible, protect it, and invest it wisely and prudently.

Cash Good: How will stimulus checks be spent?

The third round of federal stimulus checks will be distributed to the Americans. Depending on who you ask, here’s how the money is likely to be spent.

SAN ANTONIO – The third round of federal stimulus testing is gradually being distributed to Americans. Depending on who you ask, here’s how the money is likely to be spent.

Last Thursday, President Joe Biden signed a historic $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. The legislation is designed to help the economy by providing financial aid to the struggling Americans. The relief plan calls for payments of $ 1,400 for most Americans. The checks are based on the recipient’s most recent tax return.

There are some polls that show various snapshots of how Americans are going to spend the money. According to Mizuho Securities, an investment banking and securities firm, some people plan to invest in stocks and bitcoin. However, according to data from a US Census Bureau survey and a US Bank survey, people reported that they plan to use the money to pay off debts.

“I think if people really need these stimulus checks, they’re going to be using them for all sorts of things that suit their needs, not their needs. I don’t know if as many people are getting money on the stock market with their stimulus checks as reported, ”said Karl Eggerss, Senior Wealth Advisor Partner of Federation. “The most recent round of stimulus has a lower income threshold, so not so many people are receiving the stimulus.”

While the aid package is supposed to save the Americans, Eggerss stressed that it will have an impact on the economy.

“Unfortunately, it’s a lot of money that is likely to be wasted. You think of $ 1.9 trillion. We would have fought against it over a year ago, ”said Eggerss. “This money doesn’t come from a helicopter for free, $ 1,400 checks. It has to be repaid by the next generation at some point. It usually does this through inflation or taxes. We actually saw gasoline prices go up. We have seen the prices of wood go up, we have seen all kinds of raw material prices go up. That’s inflation. “

The IRS has a so-called “Get My Payment” tool online on its website. Click here to check it out the status of your check.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

Buffalo training board member: Cash spent on cybersecurity overview earlier than ransomware assault

The district has worked to determine the depth of the intrusion, which files and online systems were affected, and how best to restore operations.

BUFFALO, NY – Another long day of collaboration with information technology, cybersecurity advisors, and the FBI was for the Buffalo School District as they tried to recover from Friday’s ransomware attack that shut down their computer systems with a payment request. Your files appear to have been encrypted and the hacker wants to be paid to give the district access again.

The district has worked to determine the depth of the intrusion, which files and online systems were affected, and how best to restore operations.

It obviously hits hard with the COVID that causes distance learning and the cancellation of all classes in person and remotely on Friday and Monday. This is particularly disappointing as the district attempted to resume classes for grades 3, 4, 9, and 11 as phase two of its reopening plan.

Ironically, board member Terrance Heard, chair of the educational support committee, said the panel became aware of some potential cyber threats, including some from suspected child abuse, during the Christmas break and weeks after. According to Heard, on March 10, just days before the attack began, the committee requested a further review of the district’s cybersecurity policies and agreements.

Heard says they worked right.

“I think our cybersecurity, the platforms we use now were top notch – you know what we paid, but somehow something got through,” said Heard.

Holly Hubert is a former FBI Buffalo Office agent who specializes in cybercrime and now runs her own Amherst-based company called GlobalSecurity IQ. According to Hubert, ransomware attacks are nothing new and increased about seven or eight years ago, but they have become even more sophisticated.

“It’s a whole new world now,” said Hubert. “And companies essentially have to spend money that they would not normally spend on safety and prevention measures.”

However, James Page, chief information officer of the New York State School Board Association, points out that “school districts do little for hackers” because they do not have the corporate finance to properly monitor and manage cybersecurity. He believes it is best for them to work with a private computer system surveillance company to detect and possibly prevent such attacks. Some actually run penetration tests to see how secure a system really is.

We should point out that Hubert told us on Monday that she was busy taking calls from other school districts in West New York that feared they could also be hit by a ransomware attack like Buffalo.

Last year we reported that both ECC and Niagara University were exposed to ransomware threats. And one of the most famous incidents of this type happened on the ground in 2017 when the ECMC fell victim. Hubert worked with the FBI on the case and says the hacker or hackers broke into the hospital’s network through a remote desktop system connection when an employee mistakenly opened a fake phishing email attachment.

Hubert realizes that it is not yet clear to what extent the school district is affected, but says, “I think you need to clean all workstations and laptops – anything that was infected you need to do some cleaning and imaging.”

According to reports, the ECMC spent millions of dollars demolishing and rebuilding their entire system rather than just paying ransom to regain access to their vital information.

“You were criticized at the time for taking so long to come back,” said Hubert. “But that was absolutely the right strategy in retrospect, because we now know that other organizations in the US were affected by the same group as ECMC and that there were organizations that paid for the ransomware that did not receive the decryption key.”

Hubert also warns that if the hacker leaves malware or other code in the BPS system that could be reactivated, new attacks could occur. So sometimes a reconstruction is necessary.

Back in the school district, 2 On Your Side asked board member Heard why they had waited until recently to recheck their system a few days before an actual attack. He replied, “We were aware of the threats. Technology is always changing and we’ve spent a lot of money in the past since I served on the cybersecurity board for our schools and districts. This has been an ongoing battle for home security. You have to Update your security and of course the firewalls. In a district like Buffalo – over 34,000 college students – you see a bigger firewall and a bigger threat for things to sneak into. “

BPS Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash published a letter Monday evening saying the school could restore “devices, systems and applications” to most buildings. As of Monday afternoon, 54 of 67 locations reported “no interference with the Internet or wireless systems”.

The school district says all district and school employees are expected to report back Tuesday and Wednesday. In the meantime, students stay home on Tuesday and have a full day of distance learning on Wednesday.

According to Cash, a message will be sent from each school to each student’s homes on Tuesday telling them when they can sign up for “office hours” so they can learn the new “sign up process” and participate in asynchronous learning.

What We Spent Our Cash On Final Yr

According to a new survey on PRNewswire.com, even one year into the pandemic, 14% of people say they’re still PANIC-BUYING some things.

The survey also found the five things we’ve spent a lot less money on in the past year . . . and the five things we’ve spent a lot more on.

We spent less on:  Movies . . . luxury items . . . video games . . . clothes . . . and entertainment.

And we spent more on:  Groceries . . . self-care products . . . bills . . . takeout . . . and healthcare.

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