McClaughry: Hard spending choices for 2018

first_imgby John McClaughry Two weeks from now new Governor Phil Scott will give his inaugural address to the legislature, and a week or so later they’ll receive his budget proposal for FY2018, which begins in July. Governor Scott campaigned on the attractive idea that “state budget spending will not grow faster than the economy or your wages.” Exactly what that means remains unclear. Is it General Fund spending, or that plus Transportation and Education Fund spending? Does it also include Federal funds? And whose wages?Keeping that promise requires overcoming the “Hungry Alligator”. This is the open-jawed gap between expected revenues and promised spending, as viewed on a multiyear graph. The Joint Fiscal Committee estimates that gap to be $55-$75 million for the General Fund. But as former Finance and Management Commissioner Tom Pelham has repeatedly pointed out, much, though not all, of that shortfall is based on requested increases from the previous year’s spending levels, that can be modified or rejected.Some budget categories simply can’t be cut: interest on the state debt ($71 million); the ironclad transfer of $303 million to the Education Fund to hold down property taxes; and the annual required contributions to keep the liabilities of the state employees and teachers retirement plans from falling even further behind. The former is 70.9% funded; the latter 55.3%; the two plans’ total unfunded liability is now $4.6 billion.Another imperative is new money to combat the runoff pollution that afflicts the north end of Lake Champlain. Vermont is under an agreement with the EPA to come through with $67  million from somewhere.The tendency of the legislature’s liberal majority, of course, is to raise more revenue to meet the inexhaustible supply of desirable things to do with taxpayer dollars. Raising income tax rates or the sales tax rate won’t fit with the Governor’s idea of “affordability”. He was boosted into office largely because of his firm promise to veto a carbon tax and any extension of the sales tax to services. No new revenues there.The past three legislatures have raised taxes on a wide range of things, from soda to health insurance claims to home heating oil, but finally balked on Gov. Shumlin’s proposed payroll tax increases to fund more health care experiments. They’ve pretty much squeezed out all that can be had from new revenue sources or higher tax rates.Governor Scott has promised a “pro growth pro jobs” economic policy that would increase revenues, plus serious efforts to “make government work better.” Both are difficult, and both will take more time than the 2018 budget process can wait for. About the only immediate choice is to find ways to reduce or postpone spending.A number of states – Texas, Michigan, Arkansas, Washington  – have improved state finances and economies by a thoroughgoing performance review, managed by a dedicated and fearless commission not under the thumb of politicians. In fact, Vermont Democrats proposed just such an effort in 2004, but their candidate didn’t win the governor’s race, and the liberal Democratic majorities in House and Senate had little interest in any such confining process.  They would do well to put their proposal back on the agenda.But ever if everyone gets on board with that idea – far from likely – that can’t happen between now and June.  That will leave the budget writers with the painful task of shaving here, stretching out there, providing less, and trying to kick the fiscal can down the road. The trouble is, that after six years of galloping government, that can is now a lot bigger than the feet hoping to kick it.In March 2015 the House Appropriations chair Mitzi Johnson put some sensible language into the 2016 bill. It called forbending the rate of spending growth to bring the expenditure pressures in line with revenue growth to end the cycle of annual budget gaps;moving toward budgeting based on using less than 100 percent of forecasted revenue to build a reserve which can help offset the variability of revenues that comes with a progressive tax system and the risk of reliance on federal funds; andexploring a two-year budgeting cycle where the interim year will be such as to allow time to be spent focusing on program performance, results-based analysis, and evidenced-based program evaluation.            This is sound thinking. As the next Speaker, Johnson will have a great opportunity to take the lead in making this happen, although it will not come without pain.            Phil Scott has shown over the years that he can work with Democrats. This is one area in which they all really need to cooperate, beginning on Day One.John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute (ethanallen.org(link is external)).last_img read more

Why some men get depressed when their partners are pregnant

first_imgShare The authors report 2.3 percent of fathers (82 men) were affected by elevated ADS during their partner’s pregnancy and 4.3 percent of fathers (153 men) were affected by elevated PDS nine months after the child was born.Elevated depression symptoms for men during a partner’s pregnancy were associated with perceived stress and fair to poor health, while elevated depression symptoms in fathers after a child’s birth were associated with perceived stress in pregnancy, no longer being in a relationship with the mother, having fair to poor health, being unemployed and having a history of depression, according to the article.Limitations of the study include that the results may not be generalizable to the first and second trimesters of pregnancy or to the period immediately following the child’s birth.“Only relatively recently has the influence of fathers on children been recognized as vital for adaptive psychosocial and cognitive development. Given that paternal depression can have direct or indirect effects on children, it is important to recognize and treat symptoms among fathers early and the first step in doing that is arguably increasing awareness among fathers about increased risks,” the article concludes. Share on Twitter Email Share on Facebookcenter_img LinkedIn Men who were stressed or in poor health had elevated depression symptoms when their partners were pregnant and nine months after the birth of their child, according to the results of a study of expectant and new fathers in New Zealand published online by JAMA Psychiatry.The research by Lisa Underwood, Ph.D., of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and coauthors follows up on their studies of perinatal depression in mothers.The current study examined antenatal depression symptoms (ADS, before birth) and postnatal depression symptoms (PDS, after birth) in 3,523 men who completed interviews while their partner was in the third trimester of pregnancy and nine months after the birth of their child. The men were an average age of 33 at the antenatal interview. Pinterestlast_img read more

ACIP recommends annual flu shots for almost all

first_imgFeb 24, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – In the wake of the H1N1 influenza pandemic, the US Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) today took the long-discussed step of recommending seasonal flu immunizations for nearly everyone, leaving out only small babies.The step extends the recommendation to all adults for the first time. Previous ACIP recommendations for seasonal flu immunization covered about 85% of the population but excepted healthy adults aged 19 to 49 who are not close contacts of people at risk for serious flu complications. Babies younger than 6 months are also excluded, as vaccination is considered too risky for them.The new recommendation, which passed on a 12-0 vote with one abstention, was prompted in part by factors related to the H1N1 pandemic, including its impact on younger adults, the recognition of obesity as a possible risk factor for severe disease, and disproportionate effects on minority groups. The pandemic virus will be included in the 2010-11 seasonal vaccine.A universal recommendation will simplify and clarify the government’s advice about flu immunization, ACIP members said in voicing support for the move today. The group’s meeting was streamed over the Web.In a news release after the meeting, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said, “Many people in currently recommended ‘higher risk’ groups are unaware of their risk factor or that they are recommended for vaccination. The ACIP discussion also recognized the practicality and value of issuing a simple and clear message regarding the importance of influenza vaccination in the hopes that this would remove impediments to vaccination and expand coverage.”Today’s vote completes a series of steps the ACIP has taken over the years to extend flu vaccine recommendations to more of the population. The last big change came with the 2008-09 flu season, when the panel recommended immunization for all school-age children.Dr. Anthony Fiore of the CDC’s Influenza Division reported to the committee the findings of a CDC working group that recommended moving to universal flu immunization.”We estimate only about 15% of the population does not have an indication for vaccination at this point,” he said.About half of adults between ages 19 and 49 already have an indication for vaccination, because of pregnancy or having close contact with risk groups, such as children under 5, adults with chronic health conditions, and older adults, Fiore said.Universal vaccination has been discussed by the ACIP for years. The decision to bring it up again now, he said, was sparked by developments during the H1N1 pandemic, including:About 87% of hospitalizations and deaths occurred in people younger than 65, including many in the 19-49-year-old group.H1N1 triggered unprecedented demand for both the H1N1 and seasonal vaccines.H1N1-like viruses are likely to continue circulating during the next flu season.Another factor that helped drive the move was the finding that a disproportionate number of those severely affected by H1N1 were obese, Fiore reported. He said one unpublished analysis found obesity to be an independent risk factor for severe illness, and 34% of the population is obese (including 5% who are morbidly obese).Still another factor supporting universal vaccination is the increased impact of H1N1 on minority groups, he said. African-Americans and Hispanics have had higher hospitalization rates, while American Indians and Alaska natives had fourfold higher mortality, compared with other groups.Fiore said the working group looked at several options, including adding new risk factor indications or making a “provisional” universal immunization recommendation as a trial for this season. Everyone favored moving to the universal recommendation, with the main issue being whether to adopt it immediately or phase it in, he reported.The working group decided to suggest two options: to recommend vaccination of all adults for the 2010-11 season, or to recommend “annual vaccination of all adults starting in September or as soon as vaccine is available, but no later than the 2011-12 season,” he said.Those who supported immediate adoption said H1N1 will continue to circulate and hit young adults, and they were concerned that a phased approach might cause confusion and would fail to take advantage of new immunization approaches tried during the pandemic, Fiore said.Those views were echoed during the ensuing ACIP discussion, in which most members expressed support for going to full adoption immediately.”We’ve been practicing creeping staging of this for the past 15 years,” said member Dr. Franklyn N. Judson, MD, of the Colorado School of Public Health. He said the number of manufacturers has increased, making vaccine supply less of a concern than in the past.Also, he said, “It’s more difficult and costly to sort out the 15% for whom it’s not recommended than to just go ahead and order it for everybody.”Kris Ehresmann, immunization director for the Minnesota Department of Health, commented, “I think in an ideal world we’d be looking at implementing a universal vaccination recommendation while we already had an infrastructure in place for an adult vaccination program, but we don’t live in an ideal world, so we should move forward in the absence of that.”Susan Lett, MD, MPH, of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, said most immunization program managers favor a phased approach and feel that immediate full adoption will be burdensome for the public sector. She commented that vaccine orders for next fall have already been prebooked.Janet Englund, MD, of Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle, said she favored a phased approach because of likely administrative and logistical problems. When the recommendation to vaccinate school-age children was made, pediatricians welcomed the fact that it was phased in, she said.Dr. Dale Morse, a former ACIP member who is now a liaison representative from the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, said he voted against a move to universal recommendation about 4 years ago, when the proposal failed on a 7-8 vote, because he felt the plan hadn’t been adequately studied. But he said the case for it has since been made and has now been strengthened by the pandemic experience.Referring to all those now targeted for vaccination, Morse added, “When you added all these groups together, you covered almost everybody anyway, so why not go for the gold?”The discussion ended with a 12-0 vote in favor of immediately recommending universal vaccination, with Englund abstaining. The vote was greeted by a round of applause form the crowded meeting room.See also: ACIP sitehttp://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/acip/last_img read more

Celanese appoints A. Lynne Puckett

first_imgGet instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270. Subscribelast_img

Techno-toys r us

first_imgSubscribe now for unlimited access To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img

National Crime Agency opens for business

first_imgThe National Crime Agency (NCA) opened for business today as the home secretary published the government’s strategy to ‘relentlessly pursue’ organised and serious crime. The agency replaces a number of existing crime-fighting bodies including the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, but will have significantly less funding.Labour chairman of the Home Affairs select committee Keith Vaz has questioned whether the budget will be sufficient, as the organisations forming the agency have a combined budget of £812m, but the agency will have only £473.9m next year.It is the third time since 1998 that the crime agency has been re-jigged. The Home Office said the NCA will provide a ‘national lead’ against organised crime.It will tackle crime under four commands – organised crime, economic crime, border and policing and child exploitation and protection, alongside a National Cyber Crime Unit.The Home Office estimate that more than 5,500 organised crime groups operate in the UK involving around 37,000 individuals and costing more than £24bn each year.The organised crime strategy, announced today, uses the counter-terrorism framework to set out action that will be taken ‘at every opportunity’ to ‘relentlessly disrupt’ serious and organised criminals.It focuses on preventing people from getting involved in organised crime, improving Britain’s protection against serious and organised criminality and ensuring communities, victims and witnesses are supported when serious and organised crimes occur.Measures in the strategy include strengthened powers to attack and seize criminal assets; a crackdown on foreign organised criminals operating in this country; more aggressive use of serious crime prevention orders and travel restriction orders; and a cyber emergency response team to deal with the most serious cyber attacks, including cyber crime.Announcing the strategy, Theresa May (pictured), the home secretary, said: ‘Organised crime is a threat to our national security so it needs a national response to turn the full force of the state against those behind the most serious crimes. For too long, too many organised criminals have been able to remain one step ahead. This new strategy will deliver the relentless disruption of organised criminals at every opportunity.’ Director general of the NCA Keith Bristow said the NCA will ‘provide leadership and national co-ordination to continuously disrupt organised criminals’ in support of the government’s strategy.Labour dismissed the change as ‘re-branding exercise’. Shadow policing minister David Hanson questioned the level of funding and suggested the organisation is not strong enough to deal with the exponential growth of economic and online crime.last_img read more

DWF outlines expansion plans

first_imgRapidly expanding national firm DWF is aiming to acquire more practices across the UK, managing partner Andrew Leaitherland has told the Gazette.Revenues at the firm rose by 84% to £188m in 2013, following a string of acquisitions, including collapsed national firm Cobbetts.Leaitherland (pictured) said that while merging with a similarly sized firm would be ‘culturally too much of a challenge’, there are opportunities ‘in the sub-£50m space or even with sub-£10m niche practices’.‘We may be looking for something in Dublin in terms of commercial services, or an insurance practice in Scotland. And there are certain niche areas in London and Birmingham. But it’s less about the location and more about the opportunity.’Leaitherland said he expects turnover and profits for 2013/14 to be modest, as the firm has concentrated on ‘consolidating’ its spate of acquisitions.Last year’s Cobbetts deal brought in nearly 500 people, including 72 partners. About 40 support staff were made redundant.In 2012/13 DWF also acquired Scottish firm Biggart Baillie and professional indemnity firm Fishburns.‘Our focus has been on consolidation and investment. So while we’ll have grown revenue, this won’t be a massive growth year like the last few years. Likewise we will not show massive growth in profits, as we have been investing in our people and in IT systems,’ Leaitherland said. ‘Deloitte is predicting 5% growth in the market, so it will be interesting to see how we compare.’last_img read more

Miami-Dade’s Chairman Monestime condemns “No Haitians” Job ad

first_imgMiami Dade Commission Chairman Jean Monestime is condemning a recent job ad declaring “No Haitian” should apply, from south florida-based home health aid company, Interim Healthcare.“It is completely unacceptable that any company in 21st Century America would consider placing such a racist and discriminatory ad,” Chairman Monestime said. “I call upon the U.S. attorney general to investigate this company for its blatant violation of the Civil Rights Act. The days of no blacks, no Jews or no any other ethnicity need apply are over.Monestime is demanding that the Attorney General investigate the Florida based company to find out if the company has a record of discrimination and racism against individuals of haitian descentThe company has since apologized for the ad, posted in a New York City pennysaver for their New York branch, calling it unacceptable and offensive.last_img

Comtech Receives $7 Million Order for High Power RF Amplifiers

first_imgComtech Telecommunications has announced that during its first quarter of fiscal 2020, their New York-based subsidiary, Comtech PST Corp., which is part of Comtech’s Government Solutions segment, has received multiple orders totaling $7.0 million for solid-state high-power RF amplifiers from a major domestic prime contractor.These amplifiers are key elements in complex data communication systems and these orders supplement an installed base of solid-state high-power RF amplifiers previously delivered by Comtech to this major domestic prime contractor. These follow-on orders continue to demonstrate Comtech’s leadership position in providing communications technology and the ongoing demand for the solid-state high-power amplifiers that are utilized by major OEMs in both domestic and international markets.Comtech PST is a supplier of broadband, high-power, high-performance RF microwave amplifiers and control components for use in a broad spectrum of applications including defense, medical, satellite communications systems, and instrumentation.Click here to know more about Comtech PST’s portfolio of RF Amplifiers.last_img read more

UWF Cross Country Concludes Fall Season With Awards Banquet

first_imgUWF Cross Country Concludes Fall Season With Awards Banquet UWF Women’s Cross Country Under 20 Club: (L-R) Kelbe Beck, Megan Steinocher, Stacy Paton, Karyssa Tourelle-Fallon, and Bailee Hedstrom Sharecenter_img PENSACOLA, Fla. – The West Florida men’s and women’s cross country teams wrapped up the fall season with an awards banquet this week.  The men’s squad concluded the year with a fourth place finish in the Gulf South Conference and a fifth place finish in the NCAA South Regional Championships, while the women’s team turned in a runner-up finish in the GSC and a sixth place finish in the region.Sophomore Bailee Hedstrom (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla./Nease HS) and redshirt freshman Eddie Pagan (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) captured the Most Valuable Runner awards.  Hedstrom finished as the top Argonaut in every race she ran this year, and was the individual champion at the MC / Watson Ford Invitational in Clinton, Miss. on October 10th.   Hedstrom followed that up with an eighth place finish at the GSC Championships to earn first team All-GSC.Pagan posted the Argonauts’ fastest 8k time this past season with a 26:47 performance at the GSC Championships, finishing in the top 10 to also earn first team all-conference.  He was also the men’s team’s top finisher in the NCAA regional meet with a 10k time of 33:26, placing him 16th overall.For the women’s team, Megan Steinocher (Lawrenceville, Ga./Mill Creek HS) earned the Most Promising Freshman award as she was the overall winner in the Mississippi College Season opener 4k race and then earned second team All-GSC for her 20th place place finish at the conference championships.Meanwhile, freshman Donald Davis (Pensacola, Fla./Pine Forest HS) was the top finisher on the men’s side in two races this season, including an Individual title by winning the MC / Watson Ford Invitational in Clinton, Miss. in 27:27.  He was also the top Argo finisher in the Cal State Fullerton Season Opener with a 27:15 race time. His performances earned him the men’s team’s Most Promising Freshman.The Most Improved Runner awards were earned by sophomore Jared Black (Tallahassee, Fla./Leon HS) and walk-on freshman Danielle Cureton (Cumming, Ga./Forsyth Central HS).  Black was redshirted last season due to injuries and returned this season in great shape.  Black finished the season with two very strong performances, earning second team All-GSC with a 27:15 at the GSC Championships, followed by a 33:49 time for the NCAA regional 10k race.  Cureton did not have high school times that would be competitive at the collegiate level, however a personal best at the season opening tryout earned her a spot on the team.  Cureton then worked her way into the top seven on the team, with a season best of 21:28 for the Gulf Coast Stampede 5k event.The award honoring the most dedicated, most team-oriented runner was voted on by team members and called the Argo Award.  For the men’s squad, sophomore Christopher Hough (Panama City, Fla./Rutherford HS) earned the award, while for the women sophomore Kelbe Beck (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln HS) won the honor.  Hough was consistently a top seven runner for the Argos, and posted the second fastest 8k time with his 27:01 race time at the Gulf Coast Stampede.  That performance also earned him the GSC Runner of the Week.  Meanwhile, Beck may have been the most consistent runner on either squad as she was a top three finisher for UWF in all eight races during the season.  Her 19th place overall finish at the GSC championships earned her second team all-conference.The team leadership awards went to team captains Christopher Hough and Stacy Paton.“Chris and Stacy were an integral part of our team success and organization,” explained Head Coach John Bergen, “and they also coordinated the team in fundraising and community service activities, which in addition to our race day success, is a big part of how we evaluate our team success.  Each team began the year by competing in the Cal State Fullerton Season Opener in Los Angeles, which only came about due to the fundraising efforts of the two teams.”The final awards were for membership into the 27:20 club for the men’s team, and the Under 20 Club for the women’s team.  The 27:20 time for the men’s 8k distance and 20:00 for the women’s 5k event represent a time that is very competitive within the conference and region.  For the men’s team, Eddie Pagan (26:47), Christopher Hough (27:01), Jared Black (27:15), Donald Davis (27:15), and P.J. Orgass (27:16) joined the club with their 2009 performances.  For the women’s team, Bailee Hedstrom (18:37), Megan Steinocher (19:28), Kelbe Beck (19:47), Karyssa Tourelle-Fallon (19:48), and Stacy Paton (19:51) earned club membership for the 2009 season.“We had a successful season with both squads and it was very competitive for the awards,” said Bergen.  “Eddie (Pagan) and Bailee (Hedstrom) finished the season real strong and were clearly our most valuable runners in the big meets.  The most competitive award was the Most Promising Freshman Award, as both Donald (Davis) and Megan (Steinocher) just edged out a teammate.  I really liked our freshman classes this year, as Ben (Chastain) and Karyssa (Tourelle-Fallon) both finished every race they ran this year in the top five for the team.  To put them with Donald and Megan, each squad had two very competitive freshmen, who should be among the top runners in the conference next year.”Chastain and Tourelle-Fallon should be hungry for greater success next season, as each missed a major milestone award by mere seconds.  Chastain ran a 27:24 to narrowly miss the 27:20 club, while Tourelle-Fallon missed second team All-GSC by two seconds with her 21st place finish at the conference championships.The 2009 season success included two team victories for the women and one for the men, with two GSC runners of the week (Megan Steinocher and Bailee Hedstrom) for the women, and one (Christopher Hough) for the men.  Each team had one Individual race champion (Bailee Hedstrom and Donald Davis), both at the MC / Watson Ford Invitational.The Argonauts will compete in the spring during the non-competition season for cross country by racing in track meets.  The spring competition schedule will be released in January, and all event results can be found at www.GoArgos.com. 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