‘Enterprise is nice’: Northam hails $2.6 billion surplus in speech to cash committees | Govt-and-politics

Senator Janet Howell, D-Fairfax, left, chairman of the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee, and Del. Luke Torian, D-Prince William, chairman of the House Budgets Committee applauded Governor Ralph Northam’s speech at a joint Legislative Monetary Committee meeting on Wednesday highlighting Virginia’s record budget surplus and economic outlook.

Governor Ralph Northam speaks at a joint Legislative Committee meeting where he highlighted Virginia’s record budget surplus and economic prospects.

In a speech to lawmakers on Wednesday, Governor Ralph Northam praised the state’s historic revenue surplus of $ 2.6 billion – and pledged a portion of that money in his upcoming budget for pandemic recovery, state police salaries, and that using the state’s battered behavioral health system.

Northam, who will propose a new biennial budget in December before stepping down in January, praised the COVID-19 vaccine, financially conservative decisions at the state level, and the federal government’s financial support for businesses and families.

“We need to understand how this happened: 2020 was a deeply difficult year, but Virginia is open to business – and business is going well,” Northam said during a joint meeting of the General Assembly’s monetary committees.

“We achieved all of this during a pandemic that many expected to be beyond our budget – and have done just that with many other states,” added Northam.

The government first announced sales in July when it confirmed the state had raised an additional $ 3.1 billion from the previous fiscal year. That is a growth of 14.5% compared to the expected 2.7%.

In an otherwise celebratory speech, Northam highlighted the uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose to Virginia and its economy.

“We don’t know what the future holds. If you’d asked me about the pandemic in June, I would have said we could have a fall that looked almost normal. But now we know that won’t be the case, thanks.” on the Delta variant, “Northam told lawmakers.

Fed cash turns RBHS finances deficit into surplus

When the Board of Education of Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 approved the final budget for fiscal year 2020-21 last September, officials projected a budget deficit of $ 1.6 million.

But thanks to the inflow of federal funds, deputy superintendent Kristin Smetana expects the RBHS to close the year in a slight surplus when the books for fiscal 2020-21 are closed in two weeks.

“It’s difficult to pin down an exact amount, especially this year, but we’ve received a lot of unexpected federal funding as well as several other sources of income,” said Smetana.

Two major federal COVID relief packages that were passed last year resulted in RBHS receiving approximately $ 900,000 in federal aid this year. Almost $ 790,000 of that was left out of the budget approved last September. RBHS also benefited from a federal food grant that was part of pandemic relief.

“We expected to spend over $ 200,000 on food this year, and we ended up participating in this federal program that reimbursed us for much of that,” said Smetana.

The property tax collection went a little better than expected, which also improved the school’s financial situation. Last year, Smetana predicted that the district would collect only 97 percent of its property tax, up from the normal 99 percent because of the economic troubles caused by the pandemic. However, it turned out that the RBHS collected around 97.4 percent of their tax levy.

“We reached this mark in our budget, and we didn’t think we’d make it for a long time because the money was coming in slowly and not following the normal collection plan,” said Smetana.

Smetana said RBHS has also raised approximately $ 50,000 more than expected in interest income from investments managed by the treasurer of the Proviso community school office.

Smetana also expects RBHS to generate a surplus in the next year as well. On June 8, the District 208 School Board unanimously approved a preliminary budget for fiscal year 2021-22 that projects an operating deficit of $ 26,715. But Smetana said budget changes made before the final budget was adopted in September will turn that small deficit into a surplus.

“I fully expect a budget surplus for next year when we start completing the budget in July and August,” said Smetana.

For now, Smetana is again forecasting a 97 percent land tax collection rate, but she’ll likely increase that forecast once she sees exactly how much property tax the district has collected this year.

“We will change that in July or probably in August,” said Smetana. “We want to close this fiscal year in full before we make this decision.”

The budget for 2021-22 will also be topped up by the third round of federal pandemic aid approved at the beginning of this year. As part of the ESSERS III program, RBHS expects to receive approximately $ 1 million in federal reimbursements over the next two years.

The RBHS will use the federal funds in a variety of ways to counter the effects of more than a year of mostly distance learning. It will use $ 250,000 in federal funding to hire four additional paraprofessionals for the next year and $ 84,000 will be used to add 1.4 full-time apprenticeships over budget. The move is to reduce class size, avoid overcrowded classrooms, and encourage social distancing.

The school will also use $ 161,660 in federal funds to hire another psychologist to deal with learning disabilities and promote social and emotional health. Another $ 171,000 in federal funds will go towards purchasing Chromebooks and $ 161,000 towards purchasing educational software.

Approximately $ 40,000 in federal funds will be used to rent additional building security to monitor students at lunchtime and the start and end of the school day to ensure safe practices when entering and exiting the building, while $ 60,000 for new comprehensive social services for general education students.

The budget picture for next year is also brighter because four experienced teachers and one advisor retired at the end of the 2020/21 school year. Smetana says the district saves about $ 70,000 every time a teacher retires and is replaced with a less experienced and less expensive new teacher.

The tentative budget is $ 27,503,480 in operating expenses for the next year. Total spending is expected to increase by 2.85 percent in the coming financial year. The provisional budget is currently available to the public on the district’s website.

The final budget for the 2021/22 financial year is expected to be approved by the school council in September.

Is Gov. Newsom doing the precise factor with the state’s surplus cash?

Governor Gavin Newsom said this week that he intends to use part of the project State budget surplus of $ 75.7 billion to send stimulus checks to Californians.

The $ 600 checks are for those earning less than $ 75,000 a year. It would cost about $ 8.1 billion. Newsom has said direct checks to Californians will be one way are recovering from the pandemic. He also suggested a $ 5 billion rental subsidy.

Under a spending cap approved by state voters in 1979, Newsom is required to return taxpayers money when there is a budget surplus. However, the governor’s plan goes beyond what is necessary, restricts controls to working-class and middle-class residents, and the money would be returned before it is needed.

Q: Is Governor Newsom doing the right thing with the excess cash?

Reginald Jones, Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation

JA: It’s difficult to criticize the governor’s plan for him to roar back after the pandemic. In addition to the economic relief of low-income and middle-class families, the immediate needs of environmental, infrastructure and social programs are also taken into account. The governor’s proposal, while a good one, does not use the surplus as a catalyst to address longer-term state problems. The real estate crisis and the associated problems with the cost of living, which are holding back the growth of the middle class, threaten problems. The resources must be geared towards sustainable solutions.

Lynn Reaser, Point Loma Nazarene University

NO: California’s economy is already ready to recover strongly without additional stimulus. Allowing the state’s vital entertainment, leisure, and hospitality industries to open up fully should spark a surge in pent-up demand. The recent distribution of $ 1,400 checks by the federal government has helped total income increase nearly 30 percent from its pre-pandemic peak. Much of this money is still in bank accounts. The state should take the opportunity to strengthen its rainy day fund and meet its long-term pension obligations.

Kelly Cunningham, San Diego Institute for Economic Research

NO: Not really a discount, but just another giveaway for spending. After California imposes some of the strictest COVID-related restrictions and recent reopenings in the country, distributing $ 600 to households won’t do much. The state does not work with budget surpluses when the massive long-term liabilities tighten. As long as California has minimum debt payments and dubious projections of future returns on revenue, annual expenses will not cover projected pension obligations for unfunded government employees and deferred maintenance of highway infrastructure.

Phil Blair, manpower

NO: While popular with voters (and threatened with a recall election), the money should better be spent on other issues California is facing. The governor must obey the law and return excess funds in accordance with the law. However, when combined with the excessive federal grants on offer, this is more cash than other monies. I would support childcare, any type of vocational training or internship program, or even infrastructure funding. The economy is accelerating rapidly and will grow even faster if people returned to work instead of being encouraged to stay home with more grants.

Gary London, Moeder advisor in London

NO: A budget surplus partly indicates over-taxation. But we need to protect ourselves from stunts that appear to be triggered by this goofy recall movement and strive to find more thoughtful ways to get and spend money. Why not call it the “Robinhood Tax Giveaway”? I would like some clarity on a long-term fiscal equalization plan that cuts taxes while ensuring that the focus remains on education reform, infrastructure spending, water improvements and fire safety.

Alan Gin, University of San Diego

Do not attend this week.

Bob Rauch, RA Rauch & Associates

NO: Governor Newsom still has to return the money according to our constitution. He claims he will send $ 600 to anyone with incomes up to $ 75,000 per year and an additional $ 500 to taxpayers with dependents. He’s essentially sending the money to voters who are helping him save his job. It should only go to those who have been financially affected by Covid-19, not those who are middle class, without any change in their financial position.

Austin Neudecker, web growth

YES: Direct payments to those most likely to need the money (and to spend it immediately) are widely seen as a great way to boost the economy. The next logical step would be to make these payments automatically based on economic indicators. As for the rest of the surplus, I would like California to invest more in our future: early education, post-school programs, professional training, and weather protection.

James Hamilton, UC San Diego

NO: There are times when the economy needs more fiscal stimulus, but this is not one of them. Federal spending and deficits have been massive, and monetary policy is keeping the accelerator down. I think inflation and supply shortages will turn out to be the big economic story for 2021. I want to encourage the governor to focus on stopping the exodus of high-paying jobs from California.

Chris Van Gorder, Scripps Health

Do not attend this week.

Norm Miller, University of San Diego

NO: While I’m not a supporter of the recall, I think the “recall discount” is part of the story. Any stimulus checks that may be sent to 75 percent of adult residents are not targeted enough to help people with real needs. Either we should better target the funds or use them for longer-term projects with lasting economic effects, infrastructure and improvements in the education system and reserve them for the next downturn.

Jamie Moraga, IntelliSolutions

NO: California is legally required to return part of its estimated $ 76 billion surplus to taxpayers. Recently, this amount has been questioned as it contains reserves and constitutionally required expenses. According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), the surplus is expected to be around $ 38 billion. The governor’s spin of the surplus and the timing of the stimulus payments to Californians appear to be politically motivated.

David Ely, San Diego State University

YES: How to spend tax revenue is best left to California residents. The proposed distribution of stimulus tests contributes to this. In addition, the state is obliged to reimburse part of the tax surplus payments to the taxpayers. Tenants who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic have benefited from eviction moratoriums. However, many will not be able to repay the rental obligations accumulated during the pandemic without assistance.

Ray Major, SANDAG

NO: The most effective way to recover from the pandemic is to lift all restrictions on businesses. Giving billions of dollars to millions of people regardless of their real needs is not the best use of government funds. The money should be used to support those who are directly affected. A shotgun approach does not result in a quick recovery but in excessive spending, which leads to inflation when discretionary spending increases.

Do you have an idea for an EconoMeter question? Email me at phillip.molnar@sduniontribune.com.

Follow me on Twitter: @PhillipMolnar

How CVS and different retailers will dole out any surplus Covid vaccine doses

A health care worker wearing a protective mask fills a syringe with a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at a large-scale vaccination site in Sacramento, Calif., On February 4, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

As a Covid-19 vaccination effort at major retailers and pharmacies like begin CVS and WalgreensWhat to do with excess vaccine becomes a bigger question.

Both versions of the vaccine must be stored at very low temperatures. Once thawed, the vaccine must be administered within hours. In addition, vaccine bottles contain multiple doses.

The companies said The Wall Street Journal that they plan to use waiting lists and consider vaccinating employees who are eligible when excess supplies are available. The aim is not to waste any doses that are still tight.

From Thursday, Vaccine doses are sent to thousands of pharmacies and grocery stores like CVS and Walmart in the US This move will start with approximately 6,500 retail locations and will help speed rollout to ensure more Americans are protected Covid-19.

The companies schedule appointments based on the amount of vaccine they receive at each location. However, you could get an excess vaccine if customers don’t show up for an appointment or if a vaccine bottle contains more vaccine than expected.

Currently only two vaccines, one of Pfizer– –BioNTech and another off Modernhave received emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration. Both types require two doses of the shot to take effect.

Retailers must adhere to different state and local rules for licensing requirements when managing waiting lists and what to do with excess doses. In some states, retail workers qualify for the vaccine, while in other states they are not considered a high priority group unless they are over a certain age or have a specific illness.

A Walmart spokeswoman told the newspaper that the retailer has reached out to buyers or workers who qualify under a state’s guidelines to get vaccinated in the event of oversupply.

Walmart worked with state health departments on logs to avoid waste, a Walmart spokesman told CNBC. These protocols allow the administration of excess opened and available doses to individuals, including employees, who fall under authorized groups in order of priority.

A Walgreens spokesman told CNBC that they will consider their staff for the remaining doses and will communicate with state and local jurisdictions about any excess doses.

In the meantime, CVS pharmacists will keep a list of qualified patients by state and use that list to determine who will receive the remaining doses of the vaccine, CVS Health senior vice president Chris Cox told CNBC.

Read the full story in the Wall Street Journal.