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State Government
$3.1 Billion Education And Transportation Bond Proposed In House PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 27 May 2020 08:10
A $3.1 billion bond devoted primarily for North Carolina's education and transportation needs has been filed House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland). 
 
House Bill 1225 Education and Transportation Bond Act of 2020 is sponsored by Rep. Jeffrey Elmore (R-Wilkes), Rep. John Torbett (R-Gaston), Rep. Michael Wray (D-Northhampton), and Speaker Moore. 
 
The bill proposes $1.5 billion in bond funding for the North Carolina Department of Transportation, $800 million for K-12 public schools, $600 million for the University of North Carolina system, and $200 million for the state's community colleges. 
 
"North Carolina is in a strong position to leverage our smart financial management now to invest in the future of our state's economic connectivity and educational success," Speaker Moore, Reps. Elmore, Torbett, and Wray said in a joint statement Wednesday. 
 
"This bond proposal builds on North Carolina's substantial investments in every community to ensure our rapid population and job growth continue as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic." 
 
Last week, analysts for the General Assembly’s nonpartisan Fiscal Research Division and the Office of State Budget and Management predicted a total net drop in expected tax collections of $5 billion for the current budget biennium due to the COVID-19 pandemic in North Carolina.
 
The figure includes an expected $4.2 billion drop, or 8.2%, in General Fund revenues plus an expected $774 million drop, or 9.7%, in the Highway Fund and Highway Trust Fund. 
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 May 2020 08:14
 
DHHS To Provide Financial Assistance To Child Care Workers PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 07 April 2020 10:40

 

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is providing financial assistance to help essential workers afford child care and bonuses to child care teachers and staff who provide care during the COVID-19 crisis. 

"Child care is an essential service as we respond to the COVID-19 crisis,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. “Our health care professionals caring for those who are sick, grocery workers who are restocking shelves, and truck drivers delivering packages to our doors all need child care so that they can go to work – and we want to be sure child care teachers and programs have support in providing safe, quality care.”  

NCDHHS established an Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program for essential workers as defined in Governor Roy Cooper’s March 27 Executive Order 121. Essential worker emergency child care financial assistance will be offered through May and may be extended. To receive an emergency care subsidy, parents must complete the COVID-19 Parent Application for Financial Assistance for Emergency Child Care and submit it to their child care provider. Financial aid is available to parents and caregivers who are essential workers and who meet the following criteria:

  • Their income is below 300 percent of the poverty line; 
  • They are an essential worker fighting COVID-19 or protecting the health and safety of communities; and
  • They feel they have no other viable child care options available to them.

The hotline is available to help essential workers find child care programs that are meeting new health, safety and operational guidelines. Care options are available in licensed child care facilities for children from infants through age 12. The hotline is in partnership with the NC Child Care Resource and Referral Network. Parents and caregivers can call (888) 600-1685 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Child care teachers and staff that work in programs serving essential workers will see bonuses in their pay in April and May. NCDHHS will pay child care programs staying open to serve essential workers $300 per month for each full-time teacher and $200 per month for each full-time non-teaching staff member, including administrators, janitors and other support staff. Bonus payments will be paid by the child care programs to all eligible staff during their regular pay periods. Part-time workers are also eligible for prorated bonus awards.

In addition, all child care programs, whether they remain open or have closed, will receive regular child care subsidy payments based on typical attendance for April and May. NCDHHS also will pay all NC Pre-K providers, regardless of site location or if the program is open or closed, in full through the remainder of the program year based on February attendance. NC Pre-K providers are expected to support NC Pre-K children and families remotely during the remainder of the program year.
 

 
New Modeling Urges Stay At Home Extension Past April PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 07 April 2020 10:28
A collection of North Carolina experts released a composite modeling forecast looking at how COVID-19 could affect North Carolina in the coming months. The models, constructed by experts from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, RTI International, and others reinforced the need for limiting personal contact to slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that health care is there for people who need it. 

 

The composite model found that social distancing policies with effectiveness similar to those currently in place in North Carolina will help lower the likelihood of the healthcare system becoming overloaded with a spike of many COVID-19 patients all at the same time. However, ending all social distancing at the end of April leads to a “greater than 50 percent probability that acute care and ICU bed capacity will be outstripped… as soon as Memorial Day.”

 

According to the model, hospital surge to create more available bed space could provide some help, but not enough to help hospitals meet demand if all social distancing efforts were ended.  

 

If all social distancing were to stop at the end of April, the model estimates that roughly 750,000 North Carolinians could be infected by June 1. On the other hand, if some form of effective social distancing remains in place after April, that number is lowered by half a million to an estimated 250,000 people. That’s because social distancing lowers the number of people that one person will infect.

 

The group of experts are continuing to run models using information from other states and countries and intends to release further data as it becomes available. 

 

North Carolina health experts involved with this modeling forecast are:  
Bradley Adams, MS. Managing Actuary, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC
Rachael Billock, MSPH, PhD Candidate. Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Alex Breskin, PhD. Senior Epidemiologist, NoviSci, Inc.
Alan Brookhart, PhD. Chief Scientist, NoviSci, Inc., Professor, Duke School of Medicine
Hilary Campbell, PharmD, JD. Research Associate, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy
Scott Heiser, MPH. Senior Manager, Health Care and Medical Expense Strategy, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC
Mark Holmes, PhD. Professor, Health Policy & Mgmt., Director, Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Service Research
Sara Levintow, PhD, MSPH. Epidemiologist, NoviSci, Inc., Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC
Pia D. M. MacDonald, PhD, MPH, CPH. Senior Epidemiologist, RTI International
Aaron McKethan, PhD. CEO, NoviSci, Inc., Adjunct Professor, Duke School of Medicine, Senior Policy Fellow, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy
Kimberly Powers, PhD. Associate Professor, Epidemiology, Gillings Global School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 April 2020 10:31
 
Cooper Signs Executive Order Prohibiting Utility Disconnections During COVID 19 Emergency PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 07 April 2020 10:22
Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order that denies utility disconnects for the next 60 days. The Order directs utilities to give residential customers at least six months to pay outstanding bills and prohibits them from collecting fees, penalties or interest for late payment.
 
Telecommunication companies that provide phone, cable and internet services are strongly urged to follow these same rules. 
 
“This action is particularly important since tomorrow is the first of the month, and I know that’s a date many families fear when they can’t make ends meet,” said Governor Cooper. “These protections will help families stay in their homes and keep vital services like electricity, water, and communications going as we Stay at Home.”
 
Additionally, the Order encourages banks not to charge customers for overdraft fees, late fees and other penalties. Landlords are strongly encouraged in the Order to follow the spirit of Chief Justice Cheri Beasley’s Order and delay any evictions that are already entered in the court system. 
 
Governor Cooper was joined by Attorney General Josh Stein to announce the order and he thanked companies that have already voluntarily announced policies to prevent shutoffs, including Duke Energy, Dominion Energy, AT&T, and local electric co-ops, among many others. Today’s Order follows the Governor’s Stay At Home order, which is in effect until April 29. The Council of State concurred with the Order today. 
 
 
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