In his State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, and announced he would issue an Executive Order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for the individuals working on new federal service contracts.
Raising the minimum wage nationwide will increase earnings for millions of workers, and boost the bottom lines of businesses across the country.
Today, the real value of the minimum wage has fallen by nearly one-third since its peak in 1968. And right now, a full-time minimum wage worker makes $14,500 a year, which leaves too many families struggling to make ends meet.
Weekly Address: Time to Lift the Minimum Wage and Give America a Raise:
In order to have a fully recovered housing market and economic recovery, economists point to the need for four positive indicators:
1. A healthy job market with low stable unemployment;
2. Mortgage delinquencies that have returned to historical averages;
3. Home prices consistent with an affordable mortgage payment–to–income ratio; and
4. Home sales that are in the range of historical norms.
The economic ramifications surrounding unaffordable flood insurance is devastating home values, small businesses, and entire communities across the country. Since the U.S. House of Representatives took initial action on June 5, 2013 to delay certain flood insurance rate hikes, FEMA has released its Specific Rate Guidelines; confirming fears of sudden and steep rate increases for many Americans. The House will again act to protect the solvency of the flood insurance program and will protect homeowners from unreasonable and unrealistic premium increases.
The House proposal truly balances fiscal solvency with consumer affordability.
Provides Greater Consumer Affordability & Predictability:
Permanently removes the home sale/new policy rate increase trigger for primary residences. So the person buying the home is treated the same as the person selling it. Removal of these provisions would restore real estate markets in communities across the country.
- Reinstates grandfathered rates by decoupling rate increases with FEMA remapping. Removal of this provision ensures that policyholders are not penalized who built to code and built to standards of existing Flood Insurance Rate Maps.
- Provides a refund for the people who purchased a Pre-FIRM subsidized home without the full transparency from FEMA on the new BW-12 rate structure, which wasn’t made public for a year after BW-12 was signed into law.
- Provides home improvement protection by increasing the threshold that triggers a loss of Pre-FIRM status for homes substantially damaged/rebuilt from exceeding 30% of the fair market value to 50% (which was the threshold prior to BW-12). Would include generally accepted affordability measures such as: high deductible options, flood-proofed basement exemptions, map certification, flood protection funding recognition, optional monthly installment plans, removing the funding cap on the affordability study, etc.
- Ensuring Greater Fiscal Solvency of NFIP: Authorizes a small assessment around $25 per year on primary residence polices in the NFIP and around $250 per year on business/non-primary residence policies in the NFIP. All revenue from the assessments would be placed in the NFIP reserve fund (created by BW-12) and used to transfer catastrophic flood risk to the private market. The assessment benefits all policyholders by building up the NFIP reserve fund, which is currently inadequate to handle future storms like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. The assessment would phase-out as premium revenue matches projected loss.
Note: The House bill is still being written, there may be small changes to this framework as the proposal is vetted with FEMA and with the Congressional Budget Office. The provisions described above are the general guiding principles for the House proposal. Information provided by the office of U.S. Congressman Bill Cassidy, M.D. (LA-06)
Flood Information Notification
DeKalb County’s activities under FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System (NFIP CRS) include providing information to insurance agents, realtors, and mortgage lenders about flood hazards, prevention, and mitigation.
Printed maps, publications regarding flood hazards, Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM), the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and elevation certificates for structures are available at:
Flood Management Supervisor’s office at 330 West Ponce de Leon Ave, Decatur Also, publications regarding flood hazards is available at:
ain public library at 215 Sycamore Street, Decatur.
The current effective FIRM may be viewed online at http://map.georgiadfirm.com.
The County through its flood map modernization program is updating its database listing all structures within the special flood hazard area (SFHA). Included in this database are elevation certificates, base flood elevations and estimated lowest adjacent grades around the structures.
DeKalb County provides free floodplain determinations for the entire county except for cities that provide their own determinations.
For these services and information on flood related issues you may contact:
Brian Shoun, PE
Flood Management Supervisor
330 West Ponce de Leon Avenue, Decatur (404) 371-2012 firstname.lastname@example.org
The order affects 36,000 cars, trucks and minivans, about 13 percent of the inventory on dealer lots in the U.S., spokesman John Hanson said. Also affected are additional vehicles in Canada, Mexico, Korea, Israel and other countries, but no total number was available.
No fires or injuries have been reported, but Toyota can’t legally sell cars that don’t comply with U.S. safety codes, spokesman John Hanson said. Dealers can no longer sell certain Camry, Avalon, Sienna and Tacoma models with heated seats from the 2013 and 2014 model years, as well as Corollas and Tundras from 2014. The Camry is the top-selling car in the U.S. with more than 408,000 sales last year.
One soft material beneath the seat covers does not comply with U.S. safety standards, Hanson said. As for vehicles already on the road, Toyota contends a recall isn’t necessary since there have been no fires or incidents. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will decide if a recall is needed.
All the vehicles affected by the order were made at U.S. factories.
Toyota has struggled to regain its once sterling reputation for quality after announcing massive recalls over several years, starting in 2009, for a variety of defects including braking, accelerators and floor mats.
The Senate has passed a bill to delay premium hikes for years on hundreds of thousands of homeowners who buy flood insurance from the federal government.
The 67-32 vote reflects widespread concern about changes enacted two
years ago to shore up the program’s finances. The changes are producing sky-high insurance rates that are unaffordable for many homeowners in flood-prone areas whose insurance has historically been subsidized by the government and other policyholders.
The bill was muscled through the Senate after angry constituents, the real estate and home builder lobbies inundated lawmakers with complaints.
Opponents of the bill say it unravels long-sought reforms of the flood insurance program, which has required numerous taxpayer bailouts and owes $24 billion to the Treasury Department as a result.Read more: http://neworleanscitybusiness.com/
WHAT OBAMA WON’T SAY TODAY. The State of the Union is abysmal according to Robert Reich, noted Economist and Policy Strategist. (1) Economically, 95 percent of the gains are going to the top 1 percent, middle incomes are sinking, 75 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, a smaller share of working-age of Americans are in jobs than at any time in the past 30 years, and the ranks of the poor are swelling. (2) Politically, almost nothing is being done about this because big money has taken over our democracy, Congress is paralyzed, and most Americans think the game is rigged. (According to polls, fewer than 20 percent of Americans believe the government is doing the right thing, while 75 percent did a half-century ago.) (3) At some point, Americans will reclaim our economy and our democracy. This has been the central lesson of American history. Reform is less risky than revolution, but the longer we wait the more likely it will be the latter.
Governor Nathan Deal delivered his State of the State Address, where he discussed his legislative goals for the 2014 session, on Wednesday morning. Deal outlined his plans for the annual state budget for fiscal year 2015, which begins July 1st. With an expected increase in state revenue, the Governor and General Assembly are able to discuss restoring prior funding cuts.
Some highlights from the Governor’s Budget include:
$35 million in bond funds for Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (completing Georgia’s portion of the total funding for the SHEP project).
$97 million for growth in Medicaid and PeachCare and $101 million for increased expenses resulting from the Affordable Care Act.
$6.5 million in additional HOPE Grant funding for the Technical College System of Georgia to pay 90% tuition under the Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant.
$4.5 million increase for the Technical College System.
$23 million increase for University System.
$315 million increase for local school systems.
$175 million in bond funds for higher education construction and maintenance.
$39 million provided for performance raises for state agency employees.
Although the housing market is recovering in many regions, foreclosures reached a three-year high last year. Short sales and foreclosure-related sales — including sales to third-party buyers at public foreclosure auctions and sales of bank-owned properties — accounted for 16.2% of all U.S. residential sales last year, up from 14.5% in 2012 and 15.2% in 2011, according to the 2013 U.S. Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report, released Thursday by RealtyTrac, a real-estate data firm. What’s more, the number of homes sold in December 2013 fell by 10% year-over-year to 5.17 million.
Florida had the highest foreclosure rate in the U.S. in December 2013. One in every 409 Florida homes had a foreclosure filing in December 2013.
Maryland had the second-highest foreclosure rate. One in every 487 housing units had a foreclosure filing in December 2013, which is slightly worse than one in every 587 midway through the year.
Illinois: 1 in 605
Nevada: one in 305 Nevada housing units had a foreclosure filing midway through last year.
Utah: 1 in 718: In December 2013, the number of properties that received a foreclosure filing in Utah was 24% higher than the previous month and 23% higher than the same time last year, according to RealtyTrac.