Georgia Senate Passes FY 2015 Budget

first_img Legal Advocate Discusses Medical Abuse At Shut Down Georgia ICE Facility Related Stories The Georgia Senate overwhelmingly approved the state budget for the 2015 fiscal year. The $20.8 billion dollar budget includes $770 million new dollars in funding over the current budget. Democratic leaders sparred with Republicans over Medicaid and education funding.1:46Senators approved one percent merit pay increases for state employees, many of whom have not had a pay raise since the start of the great recession. They also voted for a more than $530 million dollar funding boost for K-12 education. The amount is slightly less than what Gov. Deal proposed in his budget. $314 million of that would go to the state’s education funding formula. Republican Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Hill says the funding comes in a year with a slight increase in state revenue.“When you look at all the numbers together this budget still focuses on the critical needs of the state, so I would commend it to you and say it’s a very moderately increased budget.”Hill says that will help schools all over the state by putting teachers in classrooms. He also hopes the funding will allow all schools in the state to have at least 180 instructional days.But Senate Minority leader Steve Henson said even though the budget includes additional education money it doesn’t do enough to restore years of austerity cuts.“Even when you take into account the additional funds to reduce that down from a higher level. It’s still a $750 million dollar austerity cut in from our funding formula in education.”Still, Henson ultimately ended up voting for the budget. Meanwhile, Democratic minority whip Vincent Fort went back and forth with Senator Hill over Medicaid expansion. Fort says the state is turning down free federal money by not expanding under the Affordable Care Act.“Wouldn’t 100 percent money and 90 percent for seven years thereafter, isn’t that a pretty good deal?”But Hill disagreed with Fort.“The concern in my mind is that we have so much dependence on the federal government that any change they make can have dire effects in this state.”Fort joined 3 other Democrats to vote against the budget…including Democratic gubernatorial candidate Senator Jason Carter.The budget also includes $35 million for the Port of Savannah deepening project.Senate and House leaders will now meet to hammer out their differences before sending a final budget to the governor. Senator Hill said one of the main topics of discussion in those committees will be books for high school students who are also enrolled in technical schools. The Senate restored $3.4 million in funding that was removed in the House version for those books. 1:46 | Play story Add to My ListIn My List Share For Whom The Bell Rings ‘It’s Fractured’: Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan On Healing Republican Partylast_img read more

Monster Energy Series team rosters for Watkins Glen

first_imgNASCAR announced before the season that it will standardize at-track team rosters across all three national series in 2018, providing a structure for the number of personnel working on each vehicle during the course of a race weekend.Official team rosters for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) have been released. Click the print icon above, or the link below.ROSTERS: Watkins GlenRELATED: Overview of 2018 rules updateslast_img

Overland Park mayor casts deciding vote to grant more than $200 million in tax incentives to Brookridge developer

first_imgAn architects’ rendering of the planned multi-use development on the Brookridge golf course site.Developers of the Brookridge project in Overland Park won a close but decisive victory Monday night as the city council approved a public finance package worth more than $200 million for the northwest corner of the 200-acre development.The decision was made after four hours of discussion in which 25 people spoke mostly to oppose the mixed-use development on the golf course and clubhouse property. Mayor Carl Gerlach cast the final vote that put the question over the top with a required supermajority of nine votes.Brookridge neighbors who have been turning out to meeting after meeting to oppose the project reacted with outraged groans and guffaws as Gerlach announced his vote. The standing-room-only crowd had raised objections through the evening on everything from the lack of affordable housing in the project to the dislike of urban development in the suburbs.Councilmembers Gina Burke, Jim Kite, Faris Farassati and David White all voted against the project.Mayor Carl Gerlach cast the vote that gave the measure the required super-majority. File photo.Ashley Lerner, 32, pleaded with the council not to let Overland Park become like the Power and Light district. “If people want to go down there, you know, have activities past 5 p.m., even 7 p.m., maybe 9. But we don’t need activities like that here. I feel like this is more of a wholesome city and we need to keep it that way,” she said, adding that the city needs affordable housing.But by far the most repeated comment was that the land could be developed without taxpayers foregoing revenues to pay for development costs.“If this is a viable project it will go forward. If it’s not, it shouldn’t be underwritten by us,” said Charlotte O’Hara.Wayne Smith pointed out that almost everyone who shows up to public hearings on the project speaks against it. “Once they understood what was going on with the density of New York City being placed in the middle of an R-1 neighborhood, they were against it,” Smith said. “And now you’re asking us to help finance that project. You’re adding insult to injury. We don’t want this. If Mr. (Chris) Curtin [the developer] thinks this is a viable development, let him do it on his own.”Steve Glentzer, former city council candidate, held up signs in the back saying council members should recuse themselves if they took campaign contributions from developers.Councilmembers point to renewable energy planA street-level rendering of a retail portion of the proposed development.However the majority of council members supported the development, saying it would eventually enhance the area with offices, retail and green space that will keep the city vibrant and attractive to new people. A plan to certify the campus with the U.S. Green Building Council as 100 percent powered by renewable energy also had an impact.Councilmember Logan Heley, who had questioned aspects of the project in the past, said the renewable energy effort, the density and the exemption of an eventual grocery store from the sales tax add-on convinced him to vote for the project this time around.Councilmember Chris Newlin also mentioned the renewable energy, saying the Brookridge would be the largest campus in the country to have LEED zero certification.The certification was a relatively new aspect of the project, having only been announced in September. It is included in the agreement between the city and developer.“I want our city to shine in the local, regional and national light,” Newlin said. He voted against prior iterations of Brookridge because they put the city’s budget at risk, he added.Monday’s votes were key in moving the $2 billion redevelopment the closest it has ever been to reality in its five-year existence. The developer won the rezoning, but then faltered on a series of proposals on tax incentives that were rejected by council members.The votes concern tax increment financing on two project areas at known as “The Village” at 103rd Street and Antioch Road. The first project area, on about 100 acres, would use about $90 million in future property tax increases, known as the “increment.” That section would cost about $592 million to build and would include 279,000 square feet of office, 203,000 square feet of retail, 642 units of apartments and a 200-room hotel and would be fully on tax rolls in 2026, according to city documents.The second project area on 25.5 acres would garner $68.4 million in TIF increment for a parking garage, 613,000 square feet of office, 47,000 square feet of retail, 213 apartment units and a 350-room hotel and would be fully taxable by 2027. The majority of the tax money would go to street improvements and structured parking.The council also approved two special taxing community improvement districts, to raise $36 million and $11 million respectively with a 1.5 percent add-on sales tax. Those taxes would begin in 2022 and 2025.And the council approved revenue bonds that would allow the developer to save $40.5 million in sales tax on materials and construction equipment, about $5 million of which would be Overland Park city sales tax.Council members who voted against the project said they disliked the financing plan. Councilmember Faris Farassati called it “reverse Robin Hood syndrome.”“I find it un-American,” he said. “I have a philosophical problem with this that the taxation, the philosophy of that taxation is not being served here. Tax dollars are for public projects where the significant benefit of the public is at risk.”Councilmember Dave White said he didn’t like the idea of tax money being used for luxury apartments or restaurants in the changing business climate.last_img read more

Arizona Polymer Flooring building HQ in Phoenix

first_imgSun State Builders broke ground Wednesday at the site of Arizona Polymer Flooring’s new corporate headquarters in Phoenix.It marks the third small to medium sized industrial facility in the 50,000 square feet range that Sun State Builders has been contracted for in the Business Park in the last six months.The new 50,000 square-foot concrete tilt up building, located near 43rd Avenue and Lower Buckeye in the Industrial Park, will serve as a state of the art manufacturing facility for its high-performance concrete coating systems and flooring products.Dave Zipser, spokesman for Sun State Builders, said his company works directly with the owners to design and build an entirely customizable facility to meet their needs.Sun State Builders, a Tempe-based General Contractor founded in 1973, is partnering with Winton Architects and APF on the project, which is scheduled for completion in early December 2016.last_img read more

Fairmount tugs deliver Skarv Idun

first_imgFairmount Sherpa and Fairmount Summit have a combined bollard pull of over 200 tonnes and took just 92 days for the long distance tow of about 15,300 nautical miles from Samsung Heavy Industries’ shipyard in Okpo, South Korea at average speed of 7 knots including stops, via Singapore and the Cape of Good Hope.Skarv Idun is a large floating production storage and offloading unit and will be used by BP to exploit the oil and gas fields Skarv and Idun, located just below the Arctic circle in the northern Norwegian Sea.The FPSO, which is 292 m long, 50.6 m wide, with a towing draught of 12.2 m and a deadweight of 128,000 tonnes, will stay in the port of Stord for final fitting out and last preparations before Fairmount positions and moors Skarv Idun off the Norwegian coast later this month. Production from the fields is foreseen for the third quarter of this year.last_img read more

Barclays to face fraud charges, SFO announces

first_imgThe Serious Fraud Office has charged Barclays and four of its former executives with conspiracy to commit fraud. The charges, which also include the provision of unlawful financial assistance, were announced today. They relate to fundraising arrangements by the bank during the financial crisis in 2008 when it raised billions of pounds from Qatar to stay afloat. According to the SFO, the charges concern Barclays’s capital raising arrangements with sovereign wealth fund Qatar Holding LLC and Challenger Universal Ltd as well as a $3 billion (£2.3bn) loan facility made available to the State of Qatar acting through the Ministry of Economy and Finance in 2008.Former chief executive John Varley is among the charged as well as senior executives Roger Jenkins, Thomas Kalaris and Richard Boath.Barclays plc, Varley, Jenkins, Kalaris and Boath have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation in relation to capital raising in June 2008.In addition, Barclays, Varley and Jenkins have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation in relation to capital raising in October 2008 as well as with unlawful financial assistance.Jenkins, who is now based in the US, is being represented by Brad Kaufman, of international firm Greenberg Traurig.Barclays said it is ‘considering its position’ in relation to the developments.The defendants are scheduled to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court at on 3 July.The high-profile announcement of charges follows a five-year investigation. It comes as the SFO faces an uncertain future following the Conservatives’ manifesto pledge for a merger with the National Crime Agency. In a statement, City regulator the Financial Conduct Authority said: ‘We are pleased that this matter, which led to the stay of our own case, is now in the public domain. We welcome a fair and transparent hearing on the basis of the charges set out today by the SFO. We work closely with the SFO across a range of matters, in pursuit of our distinct objectives.’However some legal commentators questioned what purpose the charges would serve. Jonathan Pickworth, partner at global law firm White & Case, told the Gazette that the charges will only harm existing shareholders and employees of the bank. ’Why is it in the public interest to prosecute the bank for its fundraising efforts almost a decade ago? Who does it punish and what purpose does it serve? All the former management team moved on many years ago,’ he said.Raj Chada, criminal defence solicitor at London firm Hodge Jones & Allen said: ‘There has long been a clamour for individuals at banks to be held accountable for the casino banking that led to the crash and the taxpayer bailouts. The irony here is that this prosecution has nothing to do with behaviour that caused the crash but related instead to the terms of a bail out. Even more strange is that Barclays have found themselves in this mess as they eschewed a UK government bailout and went to Qatar instead.‘No doubt questions will be asked about whether a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) could have been considered in this case rather than a prosecution starting. The SFO have previously made clear that full cooperation is a key and it is not known what the position with Barclays was. Any fine for Barclays could be in the hundreds of millions.’last_img read more

Manfred confident MLB can get through playoffs despite virus

first_img Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says he’s confident his sport can get through the regular season and postseason without being stopped by the coronavirus, though not every team might play all 60 games and winning percentage could be used to determine playoff teams.During an interview Saturday with The Associated Press, Manfred said Major League Baseball knows which player introduced COVID-19 into the clubhouse of the Marlins Marlins. Miami and Philadelphia both postponed games for an entire week.“I think that if everybody does what they are supposed to do, we can continue to play, have a credible season and get through the postseason,” Manfred said.Just 1 1/2 weeks into a pandemic-delayed regular season shortened from 162 games per team to 60, the coronavirus has forced 17 postponements in 10 days and prompted at least two more players to opt out Saturday: Milwaukee All-Star outfielder Lorenzo Cain and Miami second baseman Isan Díaz.At least 18 Marlins players have been infected along with two St. Louis Cardinals.Manfred had what he said was a constructive conversation Friday with union head Tony Clark, and expects stepped-up efforts by players and teams to adhere to special virus protocols put in place by MLB and the players’ association.“It is what the public health experts have been saying from the beginning about this, that there is no one big magic fix,” Manfred said.“The protocols are a series of little things that people need to do. We’ve had some problems. In order to be better, it’s another series of little things. I think it’s peer pressure. I think it’s players taking personal responsibility. I think it’s the union helping us like Tony Clark helped us yesterday. And I think it’s us managing more aggressively,” he said.Still, he does expect more issues.“I don’t think it’s realistic to think that we’re not going to have any more positive tests,” Manfred said. “We’re going to be fluid. We think it’s manageable and we’re going to continue to try to manage it.”Miami, which last played July 26 at Philadelphia, was set to resume its schedule Tuesday at Baltimore. The Phillies are due back Monday at Yankee Stadium.“Once you have somebody who starts producing the virus, what seemed like harmless protocol code violations become serious issues,” Manfred said.Toronto missed its weekend series against the Phillies. Blue Jays pitcher Matt Shoemaker was against a bubble-environment such as the NBA and MLS are using and understood Manfred’s urging of stricter adherence.“I don’t take Rob’s comments as a personal attack at all because I know we are doing better and some teams might not be, so hopefully they do better,” Shoemaker said. “If guys are going out to clubs or bars that is irresponsible to say the least, if that’s what happened. We have guys not doing that which is great from a steam standpoint. We want to play baseball.”A Cardinals-Brewers game in Milwaukee was postponed for the second straight day. After two St. Louis players tested positive, the entire team was given rapids tests Friday and saliva samples were sent to an MLB laboratory that indicated a third player and multiple staff members may be positive. Results of PCR saliva tests were not expected to be available until later Saturday.MLB-mandated monitors have been accompanying teams on the road since Wednesday in an effort to cause stricter adherence to the protocols.“I think it’s a top-down thing,” Yankees pitcher James Paxton said. “I think that if your leadership is showing how important it is and you’ve got the front office like we have here taking it very seriously, I think that then that’ll trickle down to the players taking it seriously.”Given all the schedule changes, MLB is considering whether active rosters should remain at 30 rather than decrease to 28 on Thursday, as scheduled. No decision has been made.“This is kind of a day-to-day thing right now,” Manfred said. “You’ve just got to get up in the morning and figure out a way to keep going through another day to stay safe for people.”There’s a chance not all teams will be able to get in 60 regular-season games.“We’ve got to be flexible on that,” Manfred said. “Look, this is one of the reasons that we revisited the issue off the expanded playoffs. If it turns out that some guys play 60, some guys play 58, they have this new thing called winning percentage. We can sort that out.”In another rule change that started this weekend, all doubleheaders for the rest of the season will have a pair of seven-inning games rather than nine-inning contests. The first twinbill under the 2020 change will be between Cincinnati and Detroit at Comerica Park on Sunday following a rainout on Saturday.“Doubleheaders were problematic from a health perspective from the very beginning of our planning. That’s why we were reluctant to get into scheduling a bunch of doubleheaders just to play more games,” Manfred said.“It’s just too long together and extended periods inside a clubhouse. As we’ve had to move to rescheduling and been forced into some doubleheaders, I think the reality just became that we should do everything we can to shorten those days up from a health perspective,” he said.MLB said no Phillies players have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week and while three staff members have tested positive, it appeared two were attributable to false positives and the third, based on the timing of the positive test, may not have contracted COVID-19 from the Marlins. The Phillies were permitted to access Citizens Bank Park for staggered workouts beginning Saturday.“There’s risk in everything we do,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “I know that we’ve done a — knock on wood — a really good job of controlling our atmosphere here. And I think it’s important that everyone does that. You can’t slip up, you can’t make a bad decision because it can really cost your organization the game of baseball and everything.”MLB rescheduled the postponed Phillies-Yankees games of this week for next week, in New York on Monday and Tuesday and in Philadelphia on Wednesday and Thursday. New York’s game at Tampa Bay on Thursday was rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on Aug. 8.“What the virus has taught us is this is a day-by-day, week-by-week situation that we live in,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.Miami will play a four-game series in Baltimore from Tuesday through Thursday, with one game a doubleheader. The Marlins will be the home team for two games.MLB said it will reschedule the missed Yankees-Orioles game and Marlins-Phillies series.St. Louis has not been to Miller Park since arriving in Milwaukee, and the Brewers have not reported any positive tests among their players since the season began. Cain, a two-time All-Star, joined Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher David Price and San Francisco catcher Buster Posey as the most high-profile players to opt out.“With all of the uncertainty and unknowns surrounding our game at this time, I feel that this is the best decision for me, my wife, and our three kids,” Cain said in a statement.Image credits: AP Written By WATCH US LIVE SUBSCRIBE TO US First Published: 2nd August, 2020 07:53 IST FOLLOW UScenter_img Last Updated: 2nd August, 2020 07:53 IST Manfred Confident MLB Can Get Through Playoffs Despite Virus Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says he’s confident his sport can get through the regular season and postseason without being stopped by the coronavirus, though not every team might play all 60 games and winning percentage could be used to determine playoff teams COMMENT LIVE TV Associated Press Television News last_img read more