PAI: 2017 budget in a nutshell

first_imgExpenditure changesThe House did reject the governor’s proposals to fund higher-education savings accounts for children and the Step-up program, which provides a free semester of college classes to first generation and low-income students to encourage them to pursue higher education. The House also cut the governor’s proposed $1 million for additional security at state facilities, but may include it in the annual bill to fund long-term construction, maintenance, and improvement projects. The House added a 2 percent increase for designated regional mental health agencies that ensure services throughout the state, and $1 million for the child care subsidy program, which helps low-income families pay for child care. The $1 million is a small step toward funding the additional $9.2 million the Child Care Financial Assistance Program (CCFAP) needs to operate at current market rates as estimated by the Department for Children and Families.Revenue ChangesThe House agreed with many of the governor’s spending recommendations, but rejected several of his revenue and savings initiatives, including a proposal to shorten the process to involuntarily medicate certain mental health patients and a $17 million assessment on dentists and independent doctors. The House did embrace the governor’s proposal to increase the fee on mutual funds, but went further than the governor’s proposal, to bring in an additional $7.6 million. This change brings the fee more in line with what other states charge and will be passed on to mutual fund investors. Providers of ambulance services would pay a new assessment, which will generate $1.2 million annually, if the House version stands. This change was supported by the Vermont Ambulance Association.Some employers who don’t provide health insurance also would see a fee increase. Currently, employers with four or more full-time equivalent employees not covered by the company’s health insurance plan pay an annual assessment for each uncovered employee to help defray the state’s costs for uninsured individuals. The House plan would raise the base fee and change to a tiered system where businesses with more uncovered employees would pay higher fees. This change is estimated to add $4.8 million to the General Fund. Public Assets Institute The House passed its fiscal 2017 budget along with tax and fee bills raising approximately $49 million in new revenue to support it. The House budget came in at $5.81 billion, approximately $1 million above the governor’s recommendation. Overall, the House made minor changes to the governor’s spending plan. The House bills are H.571 (driver restoration), H.872 (fees), H.873 (tax changes), H.875 (appropriations), and H.877 (transportation funding). []Source: Public Assets Institute, Montpelier. http://publicassets.org (link is external)Vermont Business Magazine photos.last_img read more

Experts say insurers set for £2.5bn windfall from discount rate

first_imgInsurers could save as much as £2.5bn if the government’s calculations for the personal injury discount rate come to fruition, according to accountants. The Ministry of Justice yesterday revealed that it will legislate to change the formula for calculating deductions from personal injury awards. The rate will be set by reference to rates of return on ‘low risk’ investments rather than ’very low risk’ as at present. Based on the government’s working, if the new system were to be applied today, the rate would be in the region of 0% to 1%.The decision was welcomed by key figures in the insurance industry, and examination of the potential effects by big four accountancy EY explains why. Tony Sault, UK general insurance leader for EY, said the insurance industry had been facing £6.5bn losses from the present rate of -0.75%, which would add 6.5% to motor premiums.‘We believe the new proposals, which the government expects to imply a real rate of 0% to 1%, will have a significant impact on these costs,’ he said. ‘A revision to 0% could reduce these costs by one-third meaning reserve releases of £1.2bn, while a change to 1% could reduce this by two thirds, meaning up to £2.5bn could be saved by insurers and reinsurers compared to their current booked position.’Sault predicted that rises in insurance costs would now level out and premiums could fall by between 2% and 4%, with consumers saving £21 on average.However, the insurance industry has been reluctant to make any specific promises about whether premiums will come down once the legislation is passed.Huw Evans, director general of the Association of British Insurers, said the change will ‘relieve some of the cost pressures on motor and liability insurance in a way that can only benefit customers’.Colin Holmes, chief executive of Aviva’s UK general insurance business, said any measures which reduce the rising costs of insurance ‘will directly feed through to premiums’.Flora Hamilton, head of financial services for the Confederation of British Industry, added: ‘These proposals will be welcome news for the UK’s world-leading insurance industry.’last_img read more

Memories relived with anniversary

first_img“I was immediately in awe of this place,” she said, explaining how she started working as a clerk and became assistant manager of the main gift shop and manager of the satellite store in the Air Force One Pavilion. The venue’s crown jewel opened just more than a year ago and documents Reagan’s travels as president, when he tried to use charm and one-on-one diplomacy to win over world leaders. Both Mente and Wright have seen national and world leaders arrive to pay tribute to Reagan. They’ve seen ordinary citizens from former communist countries who sometimes get teary-eyed as they recognize Reagan’s help in ending the Cold War. “When we play DVDs of him in the museum store, I still get emotional,” Mente said. “He had tremendous charisma. It was great to be in his presence and hear him talk about his life experiences. “When he would come to the library, some people would just cry.” Wright has a wall in her home devoted to photographs of Reagan and his wife, Nancy, posed with members of her family. “They are very special and all personally signed,” she said. “They are the prized possessions in my house.” The library houses more than 55 million pages of gubernatorial, presidential and personal papers and more than 100,000 gifts and artifacts chronicling the lives of the Reagans. The museum is filled with exhibits that follow Reagan’s life – from his childhood in Illinois through his career in radio, television and films to his election as governor of California and president of the United States. The museum store where Mente and Wright work is a key part of the overall experience for many visitors who want to take home examples of what they’ve seen. And for the museum store duo, their workplace has provided them with plenty of memories over 15 years. Even after his death, Reagan’s presence can still be felt at the library and museum “everywhere you walk,” Wright said. “This will be a special place forever.” [email protected] (805) 583-7602 IF YOU GO The Reagan Presidential Library, 40 Presidential Drive, Simi Valley, will celebrate its 15th anniversary, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. today. Festivities will include music, refreshments, children s activities and a photo exhibit. For more information, call (800) 410-8352 or see www.reaganlibrary.com. FACTS, FIGURES Opened Nov. 4, 1991, at 40 Presidential Drive in Simi Valley. Has hosted more than 3.6 million visitors. This year, it set an attendance record of 505,398. Contains more than 50 million pages of presidential papers, half a million feet of motion-picture film, 20,500 videotapes, 25,500 audio recordings and nearly 1.5 million photos. Source: Reagan Library.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SIMI VALLEY – When Debbie Wright mentioned to her airplane seatmate that she was from Simi Valley, he asked whether she’d ever visited the Reagan Presidential Library, where he’d bought gifts online from the museum store. Wright had to laugh. She’s been working there almost since the library opened – exactly 15 years ago today. “This library has definitely put us on the map,” she said, noting that her fellow traveler immediately recognized her hometown. “We used to have to explain where Simi Valley was.” More than 3.6 million people from all over the world have visited since the library opened Nov. 4, 1991, on a windy hillside overlooking Simi Valley. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’This year’s attendance set a record of 505,398, topping the attendance of 500,000 in 2004, the year Reagan died. And Wright and Carolyn Mente have been there the whole time. Mente, who manages the museum store, got to see Reagan, then-President George H.W. Bush and three other former presidents dedicate the library on opening day. She is still thrilled by the place where she works, driving to her job every day from Porter Ranch along the Ronald Reagan Freeway. “It’s a beautiful drive, and the destination’s the best part,” she said. “It’s been an honor and a pleasure every day.” Wright first came to the library for the opening and came back on Veterans Day, when she met Mente and applied for a job. last_img read more