Biden says Covid surge must be solved at state stage, vows full federal assist

United States President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force and private sector CEOs in the South Auditorium of the White House in Washington, DC on December 22, 2021.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

president Joe Biden on Monday pledged to support governors struggling with the Omicron variant of Covid-19, but admitted that states must take the lead in controlling the pandemic.

Shortly before a meeting with some of the country’s governors, Biden said: “There is no federal solution. This will be resolved at the state level. “

These comments constitute one of the Biden’s government’s most prominent admissions to date that it is in its efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The president may be concerned that federal initiatives to contain the virus cannot be effective without the help of states. The comments could also be an attempt to put additional pressure on governors to play a bigger role in fighting the disease.

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for clarification.

After his remarks, Biden asked whether he supported revised recommendations for reduced quarantine times.

“I rely on my medical team. I get a recommendation, I follow it,” he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently launched theirs Recommendations for people who may have been exposed to the virus. Instead of the recommended standard 14-day quarantine, the CDC says suspected exposures should result in a 10 or seven day quarantine based on test results and symptoms.

The Omicron variant poses a multi-faceted threat to Biden, who advocates the federal government’s ability to contain the pandemic. The president on Monday reiterated some of the promises he made last week, including the federal government’s purchase of 500 million rapid coronavirus tests.

“My message to the governors is simple: if you need something, say something,” he said. “We’ll keep your back free as best we can.”

The government plans to distribute the tests to Americans for free, support more vaccination and testing centers, and deploy 1,000 military medics to increase hospital staff nationwide.

But the virus’ ability to mutate, spread, and occasionally result in positive cases in those who received a vaccine has made the government’s promise to slow the disease down difficult. The virus and vaccine have both blossomed into political football. Many Americans, especially those who support former President Donald Trump, refuse to get vaccinated.

Given the nationwide differences in attitudes towards the virus and public safety priorities, governors’ responses to the Biden government’s efforts have been mixed.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, an implementing regulation in. enact October prohibits all entities, including private companies, from from the imposition of Covid-19 vaccination obligations on employees or customers. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is considered a Republican presidential candidate in 2024, has been breaking away from federal public health guidelines and restricting mask and vaccine mandates in recent months.

The Biden government has been stressing for weeks that Americans should be extra careful during the 2021 holiday season to protect their families from the spread of the disease.

The president’s remarks came as Covid-19 cases spiked over the Christmas holiday weekend.

The highly contagious variant of Omicron has reported more coronavirus cases in a handful of states, including New Jersey and New York, in the past week than any other seven-day period during the pandemic.

While initial signs suggest the variant could cause milder symptoms, health experts are calling for strict public safety protocols, saying that the variant’s rapid spread could put strain on the US hospital system and lead to more deaths.

“Every day it goes up and up. The last weekly average was around 150,000 and it will likely go much higher,” said US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said “This Week” on the ABC show on Sunday.

On Wednesday, before the holiday weekend disrupted Covid trackers, the seven-day national average of new daily cases topped 176,000, a 44% increase over the past 14 days. The number of deaths also rose during this period from 1,103 to a seven-day average of 1,213.

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State lawmakers urge Ohio Medicaid director to designate Summa Well being a ‘distressed hospital’ and supply cash for hiring extra workers

CLEVELAND, Ohio – A group of state lawmakers sent a letter on Wednesday asking the Ohio Department of Medicaid for more resources for Summa Health to hire more nurses to alleviate care bottlenecks caused by a surge in coronavirus cases Omicron variant were caused.

The letter to Ohio Medicaid director Maureen Corcoran said Summa Health, which operates two hospitals in Akron and Barberton, should be viewed as a “distressed hospital” eligible for more state and federal aid to help more nurses to adjust. The hospital system manages nearly 60% of all emergency rooms in Summit, Stark, Portage, and Medina counties.

The eleven lawmakers, seven Republicans and four Democrats, urged Corcoran to allocate money from the US dollars passed by lawmakers that year to help coronavirus.

“The Summa health system is in a state of crisis,” the letter said. “We urge you to use the resources that we supported in HB 169 to create the necessary state labor incentives so that our region can cope with this crisis.”

Summa Health President and CEO Cliff Deveny said he was aware of the letter and was in regular contact with four counties’ lawmakers and state officials. The strain on Summa Health’s ability to care for patients – both with and without coronavirus – has been caused by two main factors.

“It really is a function of the exposure to the number of COVID patients,” he said. “They stay about twice as long as a typical patient, so they use up a lot more resources. Since everyone has a problem with staffing, we spend a lot more on bonuses, overtime and temporary work. “

In the letter from the legislature, the fluctuation rate in the care sector was highlighted, which is almost 15.6% and is thus well above the fluctuation rate of 9.4% in 2019 before the start of the pandemic.

HB 169 provided US $ 124 million for “hospitals with critical access, rural hospitals, or hospitals in distress,” according to Corcoran. Summa Health manages more than 68% of all inpatient care for Medicaid recipients in the four counties.

The hospital system is also so overloaded that 30% of inpatient beds are occupied by coronavirus patients. The hospital system paused dialing operations December 6, redirecting its staff to emergency, surgical and critical care. Emergency room patients wait an average of 48 hours before bed.

According to the letter, the hospital system also manages 35% of positive coronavirus cases in hospitals across the region, 49% of patients in intensive care units, and 58% of patients who require a ventilator.

“You are essentially at a turning point,” said US State Representative Casey Weinstein, a Hudson Democrat. “It’s a combination of a surge in COVID patients, the vast majority of whom are unvaccinated, which honestly means that I am close to tending to my constituents.”

State Rep. Bill Roemer, a Republican from Richfield, said he hoped the letter would convince Corcoran to send additional money to offset Summa’s cost of hiring temporary nurses.

“We need the right funding,” he said. “Summa spends $ 180 an hour on visiting nurses. That’s the problem. We want to make sure that we can attract, retain, and adequately pay the current workforce we have so that we can address the problem. “

Deveny didn’t speculate on what could happen without help, but said Summa would expect even more hospitalizations, the peaks of which tend to lag behind the daily case numbers. The state reported more than 12,800 newly confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, beating the daily record of 12,500 set on Tuesday. The hospital brought refrigerated trucks in case they needed extra space in the morgue.

“We are anticipating a larger wave of patients than we have now,” said Deveny.

Cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer has contacted Corcoran and the Department of Medicaid for comment.

Read the letter:

Continue reading:

What’s driving the surge that has made Cuyahoga and neighboring counties the worst for rising COVID-19 cases?

“Overwhelmed” and “Exhausted” ERs – Cleveland Clinic University Hospitals provide an insight into the state of hospitals during the COVID-19 surge

How easy is it to find COVID-19 tests to use at home? Holidays are expected to increase the demand for home testing

Kentucky Gov. declares state of emergency after lethal twister

People search a tornado-damaged building in Mayfield, Kentucky on December 11, 2021.

Brett Carlsen | Getty Images

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency early Saturday morning and asked President Joe Biden for federal aid after a deadly overnight storm struck bluegrass state.

“It’s devastating,” said Beshear during one press conference, added that he had activated the National Guard in Kentucky. More than 180 guardsmen are stationed in areas in western Kentucky, the hardest-hit part of the state.

Beshear said early estimates put the Kentucky death toll at 50, but said it could likely rise “well north of it”. He advised residents who are safe to avoid areas and streets where crews are helping with emergency operations.

A Outbreak of at least 30 tornadoes left a great trail of destruction. A twister swept through four states and carved at least a 220-mile trail, counting it among the longest tornadoes in US history if it stayed on the ground.

Beshear said the tornado that struck through western Kentucky hit the town of Mayfield before moving northeast through Benton, Princeton, Beaver Dam and expiring into towns in Breckinridge County. The governor said more than 100 people worked at a candle factory in Mayfield during the storm. The facility was razed to the ground and is said to be the site of “mass victims”.

Bowling Green, home of Western Kentucky University, was also badly damaged as well canceled opening ceremonies planned for Saturday.

“Significant tornado damage in the area affects the networks and telephone lines of the WKU. The WKU is in contact with all employees of the dormitory and there are no reported injuries on campus,” said a statement from the university.

President Biden was briefed on the storms and said in a statement Saturday morning that he was “in contact with state and local officials as the survivor search and damage assessments continue”.

Biden will be leaving Wilmington, Delaware, to comment on the storms at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Republican Senate Chairman Mitch McConnell issued a statement following the devastating tornadoes in his home state.

“I pray for the lives hit by the tornado devastation across the Commonwealth and for the communities affected. Many thanks to the first responders and the National Guard for their courageous work in the midst of this tragedy. ” McConnell wrote on Saturday.

“As I continue to receive reports from my staff, local and state officials, we will work with the entire Kentucky federal delegation to support Governor Andy Beshear’s request for federal aid to help these hard-hit communities with the funds and resources to that they need.” rebuild, “he added.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul issued a separate statement Saturday saying his team is working with local and state officials.

“Our hearts are broken for all of those who suffer from last night’s terrible storms. I and my team will do everything in our power to assist local and state officials in responding immediately and will aggressively assist families, businesses and officials with access to recovery resources, ”Paul wrote.

State to allocate $700M to stimulate development, enhance public well being: Right here’s the place the cash goes

Governor Phil Murphy and the legislature agreed on Friday to allocate nearly $ 700 million to stimulate economic growth and improve public health.

The funding will provide $ 435 million from the New Jersey Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund and $ 262.6 million from the American Rescue Plan’s State Fiscal Recovery Fund.

The proposals were made by the Ministry of Finance to the Joint Budgetary Supervisory Committee for approval, which is expected.

“This proposal will allow us to responsibly finance construction and continue to use federal dollars for one-time, transformative investments in our residents, communities and infrastructure,” said Murphy.

The following are the proposed capital construction projects to be supported by the New Jersey Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund:

  • New Jersey Windport and Port Infrastructure ($ 345 million): Funding for the wind port and related projects is provided by the Economic Development Authority, the Department of Transportation and the South Jersey Port Corp.
  • Rowan University School of Veterinary Medicine / Cooper Medical School ($ 90 million): Support school.

The following are the 13 proposed projects to be supported by the State Fiscal Recovery Fund of the American Rescue Plan:

  • Hackensack University Medical Center ($ 100 million): Supporting the Hackensack University Hospital, which was certified as a level 1 trauma center in the fall of this year, in its efforts to strengthen the regional infrastructure for emergency health care. HUMC must submit a preparedness improvement plan subject to the conditions listed for the other Level 1 trauma centers.
  • Supply Chain Disruption Funding ($ 40 million): Established a program run by the Department of Community Affairs and the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency to fill COVID-induced funding gaps in already underwritten and ongoing projects for affordable housing and community development.
  • Implementation of the Eviction Prevention Program ($ 37.5 million): Targeted support for people who need help most urgently with the application, as well as temporary workers in assessing eligibility and determining and paying out support benefits, in addition to other tasks that are crucial for the success of the program.
  • Greenway Acquisition ($ 25 million): To support the state’s efforts to purchase this transportation corridor in Essex and Hudson counties. These funds will complement funds from the Green Acres State Land Acquisition program.
  • Inspira Health ($ 20 million): Support Inspira Health’s proposed acquisition of Salem Medical Center, which will improve emergency preparedness and pandemic preparedness for this community.
  • Commuter Hub COVID-impacted Redevelopment Program ($ 10 million): Supporting retail and pedestrian activities in urban areas with public transport that have suffered economic damage from the decline in commuting due to the pandemic. This program would split funds between the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and the Economic Development Authority for two targeted initiatives.
  • Pennsauken Community Center ($ 10 million): Help build a new community center in Pennsauken Township that will facilitate access to social services and mitigate the impact of the health emergency on education and child welfare.
  • RWJBarnabas Health ($ 5 million): Assisted RWJBH and Rutgers University Behavioral Health with programming related to the increased need for behavioral health due to the pandemic.
  • Wally Choice Community Center ($ 5 million): Support pandemic-related efforts (including education and social services) at this Glenfield Park facility.
  • Corporate Marketing Initiatives ($ 5 million): To help the state expand implementation of a marketing program to highlight the benefits of doing business in New Jersey while the state works to recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.
  • Atlantic Health ($ 3 million): To modernize and renovate the emergency room at Morristown Medical Center so the facility is better able to cope with the current pandemic and future infectious disease outbreaks.
  • Alexander Hamilton Visitor and Education Center at the Great Falls of the Passaic River ($ 2 million): Funding of eligible costs for this tourism-related project at the National Historical Park in the city of Paterson.
  • Vernon Parish ($ 100,000): To support community health efforts related to environmental remediation.

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Hopkinton ship Grabmeier out in type with a Div. 2 state volleyball title – Boston Herald

TEWKSBURY – It took four sets, but Hopkinton’s perfect season for coach Margie Grabmeier ended at Tewksbury High on Saturday.

The third-seeded Hopkinton won the last three sets, 1-0 down, to prevail 3-1 against No. 1 Westborough and take his first state title in Division 2 since 2016.

“It didn’t catch on,” said Grabmeier about the unbeaten experience in her last season coaching after 20 seasons and 307 victories. “We didn’t play like that. We never thought we were unbeaten. We just said, ‘Let’s go out there and win the next one.’ It just worked like that. ”

With the teams tied 1-1 and none of the teams losing a third set all season, Hopkinton (25-0) bounced back from five setpoints, including a triple setpoint, and won the third set 28:26 at one of 11 Kills for Junior Annabelle Senseney.

The junior was one of three players to score double-digit kills for the Hillers. Senior Captain Kate Powers led the team at 14 and Senior Captain Melanie Gildea added 11.

“That is the special thing about this team, it is well rounded,” said Grabmeier. “You can look at the statistics and we get input from all of our offensives. It makes it a little harder to defend when everyone can put the ball down. ”

Gildea had five of them in the fourth set, including four over the last eight points as Hopkinton won the last set 26-24 on a block for senior Mikayla Grady.

“I did it for Margie and I did it for my teammates,” said Gildea of ​​the promotion in the fourth set. “I see them giving everything, so I want to give 110 percent for them. Everything I do is for my team and my coach. I think the mentality is that we play for each other and we fight for each other and I think we did that in this game. ”

Westboro (21-1) won the first set 25:19 after advancing early.

The Hillers followed the loss of the first set with an inspiring second set win as they rose 9-3 early and held on with a 25:23 second set win with a 1-1 draw.

Noah Williams, Efe Abogidi pile up fashion factors, Washington State handles UCSB behind scorching begin

PULLMAN – Stylish guard Noah Williams froze a defender on the perimeter with a hesitation and cleared a trail to the basket about the middle of the first half.

Williams, like the rest of that Washington state basketball team, felt it early against UC Santa Barbara.

As he got off his feet, the pre-eminent Seattleite of the Cougs put a hand behind his head and assumed the “Flex” pose made famous by Karl “The Mailman” Malone.

“I thought I made a nice move so I just flashed it up a bit,” said Williams. “I didn’t even think about it – it just happened.”

Williams’ dazzling layup embodied the first half of the Cougars, which was not lacking in electrifying moments.

The WSU had plenty of style points during a 73-65 victory over the gauchos at the Beasley Coliseum on Monday night – a result that wasn’t as close as the score suggested. The Cougars started hot, building a 23-point lead late in the first half, then held a double-digit lead until the end of the game.

In a season full of expectations, the Cougs (3-0) won their first three competitions with ease. But the first two weren’t as convincing as this one.

It came up against the preseason favorites of the Big West Conference, who had qualified as 12 seeded players for the NCAA tournament last season and fell back to Creighton just under 5th place in Big Dance.

“They are used to winning,” said WSU coach Kyle Smith. “We’re not there yet. … In order to be able to play so well and be at the top (early on), I didn’t expect that at all. I was really tickled. “

The WSU was in control from the start. His defense was stifling, his front-court tandem of rising stars from Africa shone, and his transition offensive made for a number of highs – like Williams’ Mailman impression.

“I can’t take full responsibility for what he does,” said Smith of Williams, “but he likes to have fun outside. He’s definitely a showman. He’s a unique personality. And you know what? Our boys love him and he plays hard and he competes. “

Cougar’s sophomore year after Efe Abogidi stole the show in the second half.

The ultra-athletic Nigeria product staged a block party at which gaucho layup attempts were consistently timed and sent out.

“When he’s energetic and active, he’s really impressive,” said Smith of Abogidi.

Abogidi also provided a boost in the scoring list. Overall, he posted a team high of 18 points to 6 of 7 off the field, racked up eight rebounds, and hit six shots – the most blocks from a coug in five years.

“It’s just the timing,” Abogidi said of the blocks. “I was on the Nigerian national team during the summer and just to see how some NBA players play it helps you learn how to attack the ball really efficiently.”

Freshman Big Man Mouhamed Gueye, a native of Senegal, contributed eight points and nine boards to his best show so far for the WSU. He racked up an offensive rebound and pounded home a poster dunk to extend WSU’s lead to 17, around 1:30 p.m. in the second half.

Williams showed his improved ball handling and scoring with several nifty fakes and 13 points (at 6 of 12 shoots) to go with his five boards and three steals. He attributed part of his growth to working the off-season alongside professionals like Jamal Crawford and Isaiah Thomas.

“Going to those open runs (open tournaments in Seattle) and forcing myself to play point guard and get the ball up definitely helped a lot,” said Williams.

Newcomer guards Tyrell Roberts and Michael Flowers each scored 11 points as the WSU continued to show their expanded scoring options earlier this season.

“It’s huge. It takes a lot of weight off everyone,” said Williams. “We have a lot of teammates we can trust and that’s the good thing about us. I think we can be a good NCAA tournament team.”

The Cougars took a double-digit lead after seven minutes and kept the gauchos for five minutes without a bucket in a route that had seven UCSB turnovers and crisp, stimulating plays during the break, especially from Williams and Flowers.

Williams turned a cross-court pass to guard Tyrell Roberts for a scoop layin, and Flowers linked up with freshman post Mouhamed Gueye on back-to-back fake-out feeds from the area – Gueye pounded home dunks.

It’s early on, but the players agreed that the Cougars start represented WSU basketball in its ideal version.

“We definitely want our identity to be a team that creates a lot of havoc and gets stops on defense and that might be a cliché, but defense wins games,” said Williams.

The WSU only lost three balls in the first half and shot 53%. The Cougs slowed a bit in the second half, finishing 46% off the ground while UCSB stayed within relative striking distance. However, the gauchos never got close enough to really threaten. The Cougars controlled the color and Williams put the finishing touches on it with successive fading sweaters.

“It’s been a great first half,” said Smith. “We got shots every time. Our defense was really, really good, then we relaxed a little in the second half because we were tired. “

UCSB Big Man Amadou Sow led all players with 25 points and grabbed 11 boards. The gauchos shot 39% and 2 out of 13 from a distance. The WSU did not impress outside the bow either and shot 2 of 16.

America won’t ever have a European-style welfare state with out a VAT

Oct 2, 2021

AGOVERNMENTS SPEND more, it is increasingly important that they manage their taxes carefully. Large European welfare states like Sweden or Germany rely on growth-friendly value added taxes (VAT) to raise the huge amounts of money they spend. America gets away with a grossly inefficient and unnecessarily complex tax system only because its total revenues are relatively low.

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Small but growing. House Democrats are working on how to pay for President Joe Biden’s proposed Social Expenditure Bill that would see America take a step towards Europe with spending money on parents, childcare grants, green investments, and more money on health care. The bill is likely to be watered down in the Senate, but its current size is $ 3.5 trillion (1.2% of forecast GDP) over the next decade. To pay for that, lawmakers are proposing the largest tax hike since 1993.

The plan adds little to the efficient taxation that would be necessary if America ever had the European welfare state that many Democrats aspire to. This is because the proposals were made with the aim of raising taxes only for households with incomes greater than $ 400,000. The left thinks the rich are not paying their fair share. They want to raise the top federal income tax rate from 37% to 39.6% and introduce a new 3% tax on income over $ 5 million. They also want to raise the federal tax rate on corporate profits over $ 5 million from 21% to 26.5% (while overlooking the fact that doing so will at least reduce wages a little). The plan Increase the rate of capital gains tax and introduce various new taxes.

The federal government has some leeway to raise more money from high earners. But the notion that the main problem with the existing system is that tax rates are too flat is wrong. In 2018, the bottom fifth of the workforce paid no net federal taxes at all on average. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the top 1% paid a total rate (ie after all deductions) of 30%. Take state and local taxes into account, and high earners must pay a marginal tax rate – the rate important for work incentives – on every extra dollar they take home, which is mediocre for rich countries. Tax refunds for poor families are exceptionally generous. In 2019, a single parent of two children earning two thirds of the average wage had to pay a net wage tax of just 10%, according to an analysis by the OECD, a club of the most rich countries. In egalitarian Sweden, the rate was almost 33%.

Inefficiency is a bigger problem in America than interest rates failing to be sufficiently progressive. Countless deductions enable the very rich to disguise labor income as easily taxed capital income. And reluctance to collect a sales tax that is an excise tax means America relies on taxes that discourage labor and investment. America is one of only three rich countries that derives more than 70% of its tax revenue from labor and corporate profits. Sales taxes levied by states and municipalities are the only excise taxes of any interest.

The plan does far too little to improve efficiency. On the flip side, it would limit the carried interest loophole that allows investment managers to classify their fees as capital gains rather than income. It would reduce tax evasion through increased enforcement, such as auditing the tax returns of high earners, which more than pays off. And it would try to get more money from “pass-through” companies, shells that allow many professionals to treat their income as business profits, resulting in a lower tax rate.

But much is wrong with the Democrats’ plans. You seem to have passed up on closing one of the most expensive loopholes that depreciates capital gains when assets are inherited. The corporation tax increase would raise the total rate, including the average state and local taxes, to 31%, the third highest among rich countries. In the house, they seem disinterested in a CO2 tax to combat climate change. And while it’s not yet on schedule, they are talking about lifting the cap on an exemption from federal taxable income from funds used to pay state and local taxes. The cap was introduced in 2017 under Donald Trump. Abolition would continue to subsidize high-tax countries and benefit almost exclusively the rich. The Democrats would raise the top tax rates and at the same time narrow the tax base – the opposite of good taxation policy.

America’s economy would survive these proposals. But its creaky and cumbersome tax bill shouldn’t be asked to support the size of government that many Democrats want long-term, which includes state-funded universal health care, for example. Republicans know this is implausible. They usually reject VAT because they see it as too convenient a source of money. Democrats don’t like the tax because it’s easily regressive. But there is a reason VAT underpins the European welfare state: there is no desirable alternative.

For more coverage of Joe Biden’s presidency, see our dedicated Hub

This article appeared in the Leaders section of the print edition under the heading “Ways and Means”

See how a lot Covid-19 reduction cash well being care suppliers in your state bought

C.ongress set up a massive $ 178 billion fund in 2020 to help mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on healthcare providers, known as the Provider Relief Fund.

The Trump and Biden administrations have not always been great to send the money – or send it on time. But STAT’s new analysis of a health and welfare database of money shows where it is going and who has received the most so far.

By far the largest payments were made to the largest hospital systems in the country. Five of the top 10 recipients of cash were hospitals or health systems in the New York City area; together they received about $ 3.1 billion. The New York and Presbyterian Hospital (usually referred to as NewYork-Presbyterian) alone raised $ 631 million, surpassed just one of the $ 1.2 billion that went to New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation Group that operates New York City’s sprawling public system hospitals and clinics.

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STAT also publishes the entire database here in a searchable and sortable format.

Many smaller providers also benefited from the program. Of the 412,591 payments published to date, the median was just $ 12,530. Ninety percent of all payments were below $ 192,569.

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Mississippi has the highest average payment amount of any state at $ 17,563. The Vermont average payment was the lowest at $ 3,802. In Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory with a population greater than 21 states, the average payment was only $ 1,281. Puerto Rico also received less money overall than any other state: $ 180,788,664 so far.

Below are all payments to providers in each state. First select a state and then click the column headings in the table to sort by that column, or use the search box to enter names of providers and / or cities to narrow the results.

J. Emory Parker / STAT
Source: US Health Resources & Services Administration

Report: Georgia company wasted cash seized from taxpayers | State Information

ATLANTA (AP) – State inspectors and an investigation found that a Georgia agency illegally withheld millions of dollars in seized funds and spent money on Fitbits, exercise equipment, and other items.

A department of the Treasury also spent money on engraved firearms and stress balls in the form of beer mugs. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

Tuesday’s Bureau of Inspector General’s report confirmed last year’s coverage by the newspaper and WSB-TV detailing how the money seized from tax investigations was spent by the Treasury Department’s Special Investigations Office.

The spending by the Treasury Department’s investigative department was “clearly wasteful” and “gave the appearance of extravagance,” the report said.

The department has since changed its policy and returned money to the state treasury where it should have gone, the newspaper reported.

Finance Commissioner Robyn Crittenden, who took over the department in July, promised further reforms.

“The department is actively moving forward to ensure that the results highlighted in this report are addressed,” Crittenden said Tuesday.

“We are focused on the Treasury Department’s mission to promote public trust and compliance while providing excellent customer service,” added Crittenden. “We are committed to doing what is right consistently and serving Georgia taxpayers with integrity and accountability.”

The Inspector General’s investigation began after receiving complaints from an attorney representing reality show personalities Todd and Julie Chrisley, whose 2014 TV show “Chrisley Knows Best” made its debut. Her attorney Chris Anulewicz had filed a complaint against the Office of Special Investigations last year.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed in any way without permission.

$270Ok in state grant cash awarded to assist renovate former J.W. Woolworth constructing in Johnson Metropolis | WJHL

JOHNSON CITY, Tennessee (WJHL) – Back in April, Tennessee lawmakers allocated $ 4 million to revitalize historic buildings across the state.

The money comes in the form of a grant that finances 30% of the renovation costs up to $ 300,000.

“The historic redevelopment grant depends on the investments you make and the cost of construction,” said Dianna Cantler, interim director of the Johnson City Development Authority. “That year, Governor Lee decided to give a historic revitalization grant instead of a tax credit. It was a $ 5 million pilot allocation in his budget. “


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Deer Trail 4, LLC., A Johnson City development company, is one of 26 to receive the scholarship.

“We actually applied for four different properties and only one got the grant, so we have several other options that will hopefully provide even more money,” said Cantler. “It’s probably one of the greatest elements of the historical revival Johnson City has seen in decades.”

Deer Trail 4 is owned by Joyce Smith and her family. They spent almost a year buying the former FW Woolworth building.

“It was built in 1907 and has a historical certificate,” said Smith. “It was Pedigro’s, which was originally a dry goods store. We think that was the first use. Then at some point it became a Woolworth, so it has a lot of history and charm. “


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They received $ 270,000 in the grant and hope to renovate the building for mixed-use businesses.

“The facade, significant damage was done when it was covered. So this fellowship is really going to allow us not to compromise and really bring it back to its original life, ”said Smith. “We reckon the facade will likely cost around $ 800-900,000 to recreate the original, but we’re not sure what it will cost about the building itself.”

The Smiths currently reside in New Mexico and have corporate apartments there and in Atlanta. You have family in the Tri-Cities and are planning to move. The family also owns the building adjacent to the Woolworth Building, which houses Johnson City Brewing and several other businesses.


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“I’d really like to bring something that brings pedestrian traffic here, to bring that energy back and bring more customers to the companies that are already here,” said Smith.

She’s not sure how long the renovations will take, but she’s hoping to recruit companies to use the upper section for offices and restaurants or retail for the lower section.

“We have seven offices. We plan to keep offices of any size they want so they can be ‘custom built’, ”said Smith. “We are so excited that we received it so that we can do what we want with the building and keep it as a historic landmark.”

This story – in the hope that through the scholarship with his Guidelines to maintain historical integrity.


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“Not only does it encourage property owners to invest in their property, but it also encourages getting it right. So that the investment you make lasts for decades, ”says Cantler. “You might give people money, but it will cost them a little more to do the project because they have to follow a certain standard. Instead of just walking in and saying ‘we’re just going to put wood siding in here’ they have to find a carpenter who can match what is already there or if there are pictures they need to match what the building looked like at a given time. “

The grants also encourage investors to renovate the buildings at the front end.

“Instead of sitting on a building and waiting for something to happen, she’s actually driving it forward. It gives them the incentive to find the money instead of leaving it empty, ”said Cantler. “When you have a lot in the middle of a block that is so desolate and boarded up with no activity going on, it’s very disheartening for the people who have already invested in their lot. It is also more difficult for us to recruit new companies. “

In addition to creating jobs and new business in this area, there is hope that other locations on Main Street will follow suit.

“Often times we can do a project on one block and then the rest of the buildings may make further facade improvements based on the investments made,” said Cantler. “When we have all these buildings that are being restored, everyone wants to be in them. We can bring in new companies. “

Also in the area, LMD Technologies received $ 60,000 in Greeneville for the refurbishment of a building on Depot Street.

Awards were given according to the first-come-first-served principle. Part of the funds was reserved for level 3 and 4 projects in rural communities until December 31, 2021. Johnson City is a tier 2 community.