Wednesday, March 6, 2019

business proposal

business proposal

GOP leaders’ proposal clarifies oil tax distributions - Biloxi Sun Herald

Posted: 05 Mar 2019 11:48 AM PST

Top Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature are crafting a proposal that clarifies oil tax distributions but doesn't reimburse a pair of school funds that some lawmakers say were shortchanged.

Land Commissioner Jodi Smith, who has been on the job since late 2017, believes that more than $120 million in state revenue from the oil-rich Fort Berthold reservation should have been deposited over the past decade in two constitutional funds that benefit schools. Instead, the money was spent elsewhere, she said.

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner and House counterpart Chet Pollert, along with state Treasurer Kelly Smith, believe the state's share of taxes from the reservation were correctly distributed based on guidance from the attorney general's office in 2012.

Wardner and Pollert said North Dakota's schools were not shorted money in the past, and blamed any problems with "ambiguous" language in the law that distributes the state's share of taxes from oil production on the reservation

"There is no boogeyman here," said Wardner, a retired teacher. "It doesn't matter where the money has come from, we have always taken care of K-12 and we always will. Period."

Republican Sen. Dwight Cook of Mandan, the chairman of the Senate's Finance and Taxation Committee, was drafting an amendment to the law Tuesday that could be considered later this week by legislators.

A formal audit of the distributions to the common schools trust fund and the foundation aid stabilization fund has not been done. The common schools trust fund has a balance of more than $4.2 billion, while the foundation aid stabilization fund, which serves as a financial backstop if tax collections fall short, holds nearly $375 million.

Senate Minority Leader Joan Heckaman said she had not seen the GOP amendment and would not comment on it.

House Minority Leader Josh Boschee said he believes Smith's account that the funds were shortchanged and should be restored.

"We need to recognize an error was made and take responsibility to make right for the education system," Boschee said.

Failure to do so "invites litigation," he said.

Smith manages the state Land Department, which leases rights for grazing and rights to produce oil, coal and gravel from state lands. The Land Department manages several state trust funds, including the common schools trust fund that benefits public schools.

The state Board of University and School Lands oversees the Land Department. Gov. Doug Burgum is chairman of the board that also includes the state treasurer and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki has said the governor is hoping for resolution.

"If it's determined that dollars should have been allocated to those constitutional funds, he would support restoring the affected constitutional funds as soon as possible," Nowatzki said.

The Land Board itself could make that determination later this month.

North Dakota United President Nick Archuleta, whose union represents public employees and teachers, said if it's determined the school funds were shortchanged, "we would expect it to be paid back."

Archuleta said the Legislature and the governor have provided "adequate funding" to education in recent years.

"Overall, we can't dispute their commitment to K-12 education," he said.

Should employers be required to provide paid vacation days? - WHEC

Posted: 05 Mar 2019 03:39 AM PST

Federal employees and most state and local government workers get paid time off. The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports about 75% of private sector workers had the benefit in 2017. 

New York City officials estimate this would benefit the more than 500,000 people working in the city who don't currently get paid time off.

The proposal would impact small businesses like restaurants, coffee shops, and retail stores. 

Andrew Rigie with the NYC Hospitality Alliance strongly opposes de Blasio's plan. He says it could hurt restaurant owners, and adds the idea may spread upstate.

"What happens in New York City tends to attract the attention throughout the state and throughout the country," Rigie said. "I definitely think restaurateurs in Upstate should be talking to their elected officials and saying just because you see something happening in New York City doesn't mean it's a good idea."

In a statement to News10NBC, Ray Isaac, the president of the Small Business Council of Rochester, calls the proposal "another unfunded mandate being squarely placed on the backs of small and large businesses."

"In the competitive environment for top-level talent, vacation benefits are derived from what will attract and retain that talent, and what the business is able to offer, logistically and financially. NYS promotes that it is a state that is 'friendly to do business in,' but on the heels of minimum wage increases, mandatory sick pay, and a host of other anti-business proposals, New York's actions are on the contrary.
Abraham Lincoln said that 'You cannot lift the wage earner, by pulling down the wage payer.' The 'wage payers' in this state can only support so much, and when that support is exhausted, the 'wage earner' will suffer," Isaac wrote.

Right now, the paid time off proposal is awaiting New York City Council action.

The Latest: Education groups respond to education proposal - Raleigh News & Observer

Posted: 04 Mar 2019 05:04 PM PST

The Latest on Gov. Bill Lee's budget and State of the State address (all times local):

7 p.m.

Education groups are offering mixed responses to Gov. Bill Lee's proposal to spend $25 million for a new education savings accounts program in Tennessee.

Tennessee Education Association President Beth Brown said Monday that the proposal sparked concerns because ESAs are "vouchers with less accountability." Brown added that teachers currently struggle to pay for classroom supplies and the state should help public school classroom and not pay for a program that could harm student achievement.

Meanwhile, pro-voucher group Tennessee Federation for Children State Director Shaka Mitchell says Lee's ESA program reaffirms the state's commitment to school choice.

Lee's plan would allow parents of students in certain low-income districts with three or more schools ranked in the bottom 10 percent to receive $7,300 from a government-authorized account to pay for approved expenses.


6:45 p.m.

Gov. Bill Lee's budget calls for a $50 million economic development infrastructure grant for Volkswagen, which plans to expand its Chattanooga plant and create 1,000 jobs there as it gears up for electric vehicle production beginning in 2022.

The budget proposal Lee released Monday offered the first look at the state dollar total sought for the project.

In January, Volkswagen announced that the Tennessee factory will be the focus of an $800 million investment in its manufacturing of electric vehicles in North America.

The factory will produce a vehicle using a modular chassis the company has said will help build electric vehicles for the mass market. Volkswagen currently builds two vehicles in Chattanooga.

Volkswagen said it posted an annual sales record in 2018. The company has paid more than more than $31 billion in fines and settlements after it was caught installing software that let cars cheat on U.S. emissions tests.


5 p.m.

Top Republicans say Gov. Bill Lee will soon unveil a proposal geared toward boosting school choice in Tennessee.

Finance Commissioner Stuart McWhorter told House Republicans on Monday that Lee's upcoming budget for the upcoming fiscal year will include $25 million for a new education savings accounts plan, but details are still being finalized.

GOP House Majority Leader William Lamberth added that the governor's proposal will not impact the state's current school funding formula.

Currently, Tennessee allows parents of students with certain disabilities to withdraw their children from public school and then receive up to $6,000 to pay for private educational services.

Lee is scheduled to deliver his State of the State address to lawmakers later Monday.

City leaders search for unity on process for increasing Charlotte's affordable housing - Charlotte Business Journal

Posted: 05 Mar 2019 11:58 AM PST

[unable to retrieve full-text content]City leaders search for unity on process for increasing Charlotte's affordable housing  Charlotte Business Journal

A two-hour debate on Monday night showed city government and a national nonprofit lack consensus on how affordable housing projects will be considered as ...

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