EPA Relaxing Enforcement of Environmental Regulations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that it will temporarily rollback enforcement of environmental regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic. For weeks several industries including oil and gas have asked the federal government to relax regulations. The industries argue that they are experiencing worker shortages, and that compliance with what they deem non-essential regulations is inhibiting their ability to distribute fuel. They specifically ask for leniency toward testing and reporting requirements. In response the EPA…

Comments Off on EPA Relaxing Enforcement of Environmental Regulations
NACo Releases Comprehensive Guide to Congress’ Third COVID-19 Supplemental

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Congress has passed two bipartisan emergency packages to address the challenges the nation faces and now has a third package on the way. The National Association of Counties (NACo) has released a comprehensive analysis of that third package, Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. From NACo: Last night, the U.S. Senate passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The bill (H.R. 748) now heads…

Comments Off on NACo Releases Comprehensive Guide to Congress’ Third COVID-19 Supplemental
Tax Provision in COVID Bill May Carry State/County Revenue Losses

A provision included in the massive COVID response legislation moving through Congress offers a new tax write-off for investors, and may reduce tax bases for states (and for Maryland counties). In the high-profile CARES bill accelerated through the U.S. Senate and pending House agreement (as of this writing), a provision amidst the many stimulus offerings is a structural change to the basis for taxing investment income. From a discussion in the New York Times: Senate…

Comments Off on Tax Provision in COVID Bill May Carry State/County Revenue Losses
Maryland Receives Major Disaster Declaration for COVID-19 Crisis

Governor Larry Hogan announced tonight that Maryland has received a Major Disaster Declaration from the federal administration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration means that Maryand is eligible to be reimbursed for the Emergency Protective Measures taken by state and local government agencies and certain non-profit groups under its Public Assistance program under the Robert T. Stafford Act. Earlier today, Maryland reported 580 confirmed cases of COVID-19—an increase of 157 new cases, which…

Comments Off on Maryland Receives Major Disaster Declaration for COVID-19 Crisis
Educational Leaders Say CARES Act Isn’t Enough

Advocates such as Chip Slaven, Chief Advocacy Officer for the National School Boards Association, say that much more resources are needed and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) is only a small step forward. The CARES Act, which passed the U.S. Senate unanimously and will now be considered in the House of Representatives, would provide $30.75 billion in emergency relief funds for the U.S. Department of Education with $13.5 billion for…

Comments Off on Educational Leaders Say CARES Act Isn’t Enough
U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Hit Record 3.3 Million Amid COVID-19 Epidemic

A record 3.3 million Americans, including 42,000 Marylanders, filed for unemployment benefits last week, as businesses shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus. In the week ending March 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 3,283,000, an increase of 3,001,000 from the previous week's revised level, according to the United States Department of Labor. This marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in the history of the seasonally…

Comments Off on U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Hit Record 3.3 Million Amid COVID-19 Epidemic
Feds Reach Deal on $2 Trillion Stimulus Package: What It Means for Counties

The U.S. Senate today is expected to pass a massive $2 trillion stimulus package designed to keep the economy afloat amid the deepening COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. House is likely to take quick action on the Senate bill and send it to President Trump for swift enactment. The bill includes $150 billion for state and local stimulus funds; $500 billion lending fund for industries, local governments, and states; $367 billion for small business loans; $130…

Comments Off on Feds Reach Deal on $2 Trillion Stimulus Package: What It Means for Counties
USDA Supports Rural Communities During COVID-19 Outbreak

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is stepping in to help rural communities suffering from financial hardships due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus. Actions include a moratorium on evictions for residents that have received a home loan through USDA, waving many different program requirements, and extending certain deadlines. From the press release: USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19…

Comments Off on USDA Supports Rural Communities During COVID-19 Outbreak
Coronavirus Changes Public Transportation Outlook

Temporary business closures, social distancing, quarantine practices, and teleworking are all leading to a decrease in demand for public transportation. The D.C. Metro is estimated to run a deficit of $50 million per month as ridership has declined significantly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and they have put more money into enhanced facility cleaning and basic personal protection equipment for their employees. Metro has responded to the decrease in demand by altering their…

Comments Off on Coronavirus Changes Public Transportation Outlook
States Need to Prepare for Rising Unemployment Insurance Claims

Unemployment insurance is a critical component of the governmental response to COVID-19, but states are now seeing an unprecedented number of claims that will tax state unemployment funds beyond their limits. At the federal level, there is much support for expanding eligibility criteria and providing for extended benefits, both funded by the federal government. although the majority of initial costs are borne by the state. From Tax Foundation: State payroll taxes, called SUTA taxes, fund…

Comments Off on States Need to Prepare for Rising Unemployment Insurance Claims
Close Menu