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Category Archives: Fiscal Freedom

Philippines Improves in Economic Freedom ranking – CFO innovation ASIA

Posted: February 26, 2017 at 11:42 pm

By CFO Innovation Asia Staff | Monday, February 27, 2017 – 10:58

The Philippines jumped 12 spots from 70th to 58th in the 2017 Index of Economic Freedom.

The index measures the effects of policy changes on the overall quality of life. The study attributes fiscal gains, monetary stability, consumption, and government spending for the rise in the rankings.

In spite of a weak global demand in 2016-17, Philippines grew at 6.8 percent driven by an increase in investment and consumer spending.

The country was rated their highest on fiscal health (97.2) followed by government spending (89.4) as it maintained its public debt levels at 37.1 percent of gross domestic product.

Financial freedom was ranked at 60, while monetary freedom was higher at 80.6 in line with the Central Banks policies for maintaining price stability, issuing new banking licenses, and maintaining low inflation.

Reduction in cost and time for managing licensing requirements led to a gradual improvement in the business climate rankings while investment freedom witnessed no change due to investment restrictions in several sectors.

Philippines scored low in property rights, judicial effectiveness, and government integrity due to a weak state of law. The government is pursuing tax and legislative reforms to facilitate entrepreneurship, eliminate corruption and improve the ease of doing investments to attract investments and achieve a growth of eight percent by 2022.

Global growth will pick up modestly in 2017

Opportunity knocks if regional challenges can be overcome

Presenting Budget 2017, Singapore Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat announced…

Despite a particularly challenging year on the global economic front, the…

Misaligned incentives between China’s central and regional and local…

Hong Kong is again the worlds freest economy, according to the 2017 Index of…

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Pleading poverty, demanding new taxes – Washington Times

Posted: at 11:42 pm

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Stop me if youve heard this story before. Governors and state legislators are pleading poverty again and they are demanding tax hikes of every imaginable kind.

More than half the states are facing big deficits this year and they are mostly blue states like California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois and New York and Oregon. (See chart.) These are the highest tax states with some of the deepest pools of red ink. Theres got to be a message here.

But many red states have money woes too, and we now have Republicans chomping at the bit to raise taxes. The biggest fight is in Kansas where the Republican-dominated legislature recently passed a massive income tax hike that would raise taxes on every small business in the state and every wage earner with income above $15,000. Fortunately, Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed the Republican tax hike but they will be back.

Republican governors Bill Haslam of Tennessee, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma and Eric Holcomb of Indiana want gas tax increases. Republicans in Alaska and Wyoming are considering enacting a state income tax to fill funding holes. These are two of the nine states without an income tax.

So what is the source of the budget crises from coast to coast? First, on the revenue side, tax receipts are down because states are front-line victims of the slow-growth era of the Obama years. When the U.S. economy sputters at only 1.6 percent as it did in 2016, state and local tax revenues barely trickle in. So much for the liberal spin that President Obama left behind a healthy economy.

Revenues are also way down in oil-producing states like Alaska, Kansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Liberals are pushing big tax increases in each of these states that not so long ago gorged on new spending during the years of high prices. North Dakota had one year that the budget rose more than 50 percent.

The best thing Washington can do to help states is pass the Trump tax cuts so we get faster economic growth. Nothing heals state budgets quicker than a dose of prosperity.

The even bigger story is the eight-year state spending binge that almost no one is reporting on. Chris Edwards, a fiscal analyst at the Cato Institute, has run the numbers. He reports that state general fund spending has soared 32 percent since 2010. The National Association of State Budget Officers predicts a 4.3 percent hike in fiscal 2017 budgets.

One reason state budgets have spun out of control is Obamacare. Some 20 million Americans have been added to state Medicaid rolls. For now, the feds pay most of the costs. But in several years the patients will still be on Medicaid but the costs will be shifted to the states. All the more reason to repeal Obamacare as rapidly as possible before the Medicaid caseloads grow by millions more.

Its worth noting that many of the blue states that signed up for the Obamacare Medicaid expansions now face the biggest deficits.

Will tax hikes solve the problem? The answer can be found in Connecticut and Illinois. These two states passed multi-billion dollar income tax hikes on the rich. Both have seen their economies get crushed by the out-migration of tax filers to avoid the tax hikes. Today their deficits are still gigantic. Connecticut faces a near half-billion dollar deficit with Democratic Gov, Daniel Malloy calling for his third mega-tax increase to stop the red ink. Illinois has at least $6 billion in unpaid bills following its biggest tax increase in history.

Spending discipline and pro-growth tax reforms are the best formula for reviving state budgets. If Republicans who control 69 of the 99 state legislative chambers think they can tax their way back to prosperity, dont be surprised if they find themselves back in the minority after 2018.

Stephen Moore is an economic consultant with Freedom Works and a CNN senior economic analyst.

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Publishers: Cuomo proposal removes transparency – Oneonta Daily Star

Posted: at 11:42 pm

ALBANY The lobby association for New York’s newspapers is urging lawmakers to reject parts of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed $152 billion state budget, contending the package would make some state contracts less transparent and would give the administration “virtually unconstrained authority” over public works projects.

A memo released in late January by the New York News Publishers Associations to its members argues that the bundle of budget bills framed by the Cuomo administration would harm government transparency in New York.

Specifically, the association, in the memo authored by its director, Diane Kennedy, states that it would allow the governor’s administration to bypass the review authority of the state comptroller’s office the state’s fiscal watchdog with proposed contracts for some public construction projects.

The proposed process being advanced by the Cuomo administration could result in newspapers and local contractors being kept unaware of public works projects being planned for their communities, Kennedy warned.

“The Governors proposal would make this new public works method permanent and expand its provisions to all state agencies, authorities, local governments outside New York City, the State University and City University of New York, as well as their affiliates and subsidiaries,” Kennedy said in the memo. “It would apply to all projects expected to cost more than $1.2 million.”

In response, a spokesman for Cuomo’s Division of the Budget, Freeman Klopott, said the measures being advanced by the governor will equip the state “with tools that will keep public works projects on time and reduce taxpayer costs through a transparent, public bidding process.

Klopott noted that two major design and construction projects, the replacements of the Tappan Zee and Kosciuszko bridges, are proceeding smoothly and “remain on budget.”

Kennedy said in an interview that the publishers “are not objecting to best-value contracting and we’re not opposed to doing public works in innovative ways. We just want to make sure the public is adequately informed.”

NYNPA’s members in New York include the Niagara Gazette, the Plattsburgh Press-Republican and the Lockport Journal, all newspapers published by Community News Holdings Inc., the company that also owns The Daily Star.

Kennedy’s contention that the public’s ability to access state information would be weakened echoes concerns that good-government groups have been making regarding what they contend is the need for greater transparency in public works contracts.

The push for independent oversight over state spending has been led by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Cuomo and DiNapoli are both Democrats, though their relationship has been rocky.

Lawmakers and Cuomo must be in accord on final budget bills by March 31 for the spending plan to be in place when the new state fiscal year begins April 1. The Senate and Assembly are expected to draft their own budget plans in March, after which negotiations aimed at achieving compromise will commence.

In an interview, DiNapoli said that he shares the concern that “the additional steps being proposed would certainly reduce some of the accountability that comes with oversight.”

Of particular concern, he said, is a Cuomo push for “a very significant expansion of executive power without any real check on it. I think that is why the Legislature is taking a close look at it, as well they should.”

While it remains unclear whether lawmakers will accept Cuomo’s proposals or revise them, DiNapoli said he hopes that the final rush of horse-trading to produce a spending blueprint doesn’t occur “at the expense of transparency and accountability.”

Cuomo’s administration was rocked last year by federal corruption charges against the governor’s former top aide, Joseph Percoco, SUNY Polytechnic Institute leader Alain Kaloyeros, lobbyist Todd Howe and six upstate development executives on charges stemming from a probe into bid-rigging and bribery.

In January, Cuomo highlighted the need for ethics reforms, including a 10-point plan in one of his State of the State speeches, calling for limits on the outside income of lawmakers as well as term limits for elected officials and an expansion of Freedom of Information Law requirements for the Legislature.

Kennedy’s memo also called attention to the fact that the budget proposals would exempt records of complaints filed with the state against ride-hailing companies from being accessed with Freedom of Information Law requests. Cuomo and many lawmakers are calling for authorization for such companies as Uber and Lyft to offer their services in upstate communities. Such complaints are now public record in New York City, where the companies already operate.

Joe Mahoney covers the New York Statehouse for CNHIs newspapers and websites. Reach him at jmahoney@cnhi.com.

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Expect the unexpected with upcoming budget, appropriations cycle, experts say – FederalNewsRadio.com

Posted: February 25, 2017 at 3:48 pm

Theres one thing budget experts can predict with confidence: This budget cycle and the next will be unlike any agencies and contractors have seen in the past.

President Donald Trump is expected to submit his fiscal 2018 budget to Congress in mid-March. The continuing resolution that lawmakers passed last yearexpires Apr. 28.Congress must still agree on a funding solution for the remainder of fiscal 2017. Meanwhile, Trump has indicated his desire to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and implement a major overhaul to the tax code.

These circumstances, and the personalities behind these crucial budgetary decisions, could set up an unprecedented budgetary climate for agencies and contractors.

What impact will the Trump administration have on feds? Read the latest in our First 100 Days section.

Things that we thought were slam dunks are not,Stan Collender, budget expert and executive vice president of Qorvis MSLGROUP, said during a Feb. 24 Professional Services Council discussion.

This puts newly confirmed Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, a former member of the House Freedom Caucuswho has expressed his opposition against raising the defense spending caps, in a tricky position.

Hell either be the most influential member of Trumps cabinet or the first one out the door, Collender said.

The President has expressed his desire to boost military spending and raise defense spending caps, but Democrats have consistently said they wont budge without an increase to the domestic spending caps.

The administration isfacing the situation where they want to spend more on military programs but probably wont be able to do it through the caps, Collender said.

The Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund could once again be an option for the administration. ButMulvaney has called the OCO account a slush fund in the past and was one of four co-sponsors of an amendment to the 2017 Defense authorization bill that would have reined in its use for non-wartime spending.

Onescenario is that Congress could appropriate agency funding past the spending caps, which in theory would trigger sequestration, Collender said.

But the President couldask OMB not to issue sequestration guidance, he added.

The sequester isnt automatic, said David Berteau, CEO of the Professional Services Council. OMB has to actually issue guidance to sequester, a direction to sequester. Without that order, there is no sequestration.

Government shutdowns andcliffhangers over the debt ceiling, which will likelybe suspended by March 15, may be a possibility.

They cannot be dismissed outright just because one party is in control of the White House and both houses of Congress, Collender said of either option.

Both Berteau and Collender said they could ultimately see four years of continuing resolutions or omnibus packages, whichRepublicans may use to pass other policy priorities.

If you put it in one big bill its tough for members to vote against, because there will be something in there that they either cant do without or have to be in there.

Time is another factor, since its unlikely committees will have enough time to resolve full appropriations packages with the congressional schedule, which has most lawmakers on recess for two weeks in April.

Itsnot hard to see a scenario where you get to April 28th and you say, Oh, we just need another week here, so we get a one-week CR, Berteau said. And then you get to the next week, and you get another one-week CR. If you look at government contracting behavior, theyre already spending as if its a CR, and what that means is, dont spend all your money yet because youre not sure what youre going to get in the subsequent CR.

But in a changing environment Collender said the contracting community should tweak its operating principle and the strategy companies use to market them to the public.

You have to get a reputation as not just somebody who herds money from the government but provides value to the government, that the contracts you get, the work youre doing, actually improves the bottom-line, he said.

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Trump’s Volatility, Protectionism Makes Him a Poor Bet for Investors – Newsweek

Posted: at 3:48 pm

This article originally appeared on the Motley Fool.

A number of very good investors have started to share their concerns about the interplay between politics and the stock market.

One such investor is Ray Dalio, the chairman and CEO of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund.

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Dalio originally thought that the new presidential administration’s pro-business tilt would outweigh any downside from its populist policies, such as a border adjustment tax that could weigh on global growth. But now he’s not so sure.

“We are now in a period of time when how this balance tilts will be more important to the economy, markets, and our well-beings than normally dominant drivers such as central bank policies,” Dalio wrote in a recent note to clients.

Another high-profile investor who has waded into this space is Seth Klarman, the founder and CEO of Baupost Group, a hedge fund with $30 billion in assets under management.

Klarman is the “most successful and influential investor you have probably never heard of,”wroteAndrew Ross Sorkin in a recent piece on the 59-year-old billionaire. Klarman’s writings are so coveted on Wall Street, Sorkin goes on to point out, that a used copy of his book from several decades ago starts at nearly $800 on Amazon.

Klarman is alsoneither prone to hyperbole nor someone who seeks out the spotlight. This is why his latest letter to the investors in his fund has attracted so much attention.

He claims in the letter that stock valuations are “perilously high,” thanks to the surge in the market following the presidential election. “Exuberant investors have focused on the potential benefits of stimulative tax cuts, while mostly ignoring the risks from America-first protectionism and the erection of new trade barriers,” Klarman notes.

U.S. President Donald Trump is interviewed by Reuters in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, February 23. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

“The big picture for investors is this: Trump is high volatility, and investors generally abhor volatility and shun uncertainty,” says Klarman. “Not only is Trump shockingly unpredictable, he’s apparently deliberately so; he says it’s part of his plan.”

Now, let’s be clear: Even though Klarman is among the world’s greatest investors, he doesn’t have a monopoly on predicting the future. He has, after all, lost money in three out of the past 34 years. That’s a pretty darn good record, but it isn’t perfect.

That being said, as one surveys the current landscape, it’s hard to find fault with Klarman’s and Dalio’s assessments.

What’s critical to appreciate right now is that stocks soared in the wake of the presidential election on the expectation that Trump’s team would be able to push through corporate tax cuts, deregulate a wide swath of industries, and stimulate the economy with a $1 trillion infrastructure plan.

The problem now, however, is that these expectations are starting to run into reality, which could cause expectations to deflate as rapidly as they’ve inflated over the past few months.

Let’s start with the infrastructure plan. This is exactly what the United States needs right now. It would not only help to modernize bridges, dams, roads, and airports, but it would also spur the economy.But the catch is that investing $1 trillion into infrastructure would only benefit the economy if we borrowed to do so. This is the essence of Keynesianism.

The issue for Trump will be getting Republicans on board with this. Most importantly, he will need to get the House Freedom Caucus and other fiscal conservatives to agree to a plan that would meaningfully ratchet up the federal debt, which seems unlikely.

Just this past week, Republican representatives said that any conversation about infrastructure spending, including on a border wall with Mexico, must be offset by spending cuts elsewhere. Aside from the challenge of finding other places to cut spending, this would neutralize the stimulative effect of deficit financing.

And while Democrats originally appeared willing to support a bipartisan deficit-financed infrastructure plan, the window of opportunity for the parties to agree on anything of this sort appears to be rapidly closing.

On top of this, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to suspect that consumer and investor sentiment, which shot up following the election, could falter if the unease and uncertainty filtering out of Washington, D.C., doesn’t abate. And the same thing could happen to business investment, a critical component of economic growth.

It’s this “exceptional uncertainty” that led Dalio to recommend against making concentrated illiquid bets in favor of owning easy-to-sell assets.

Just to reiterate, neither Klarman nor Dalio can see the future any better than you or I can. At the same time, their opinions are worth considering — after all, they are among the most successful stock market operators of the past half century.

It’s for these reasons, then, coupled with my own observations and feelings toward the towering heights of the stock market, that have led me to believe that cash will be king in 2017.

There’s a limit to how much higher stocks can go, with the market already at a historic high. And if expectations begin to falter, causing stocks to respond in kind, you’ll want to have cash on hand to take advantage of any values that might emerge from a correction.

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Dj vu all over again – The Capitol Fax Blog (blog)

Posted: February 24, 2017 at 6:56 pm

* He doesnt have an ownership stake in his law firm, he says his salary at the firm is less than his legislative pay and that his total compensation is less than the governors official salary and he doesnt work for or financially benefit from state-related clients. And yet

State Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, is one of the most powerful people in Springfield, talked about as a possible future president of the Illinois Senate.

Hes also a partner in a Chicago law firm thats been paid more than $9 million in the past five years for doing legal work for state agencies, government workers pension funds and local governments whose citizens he represents in the Senate, a Chicago Sun-Times examination has found.

That covers work done for more than 20 government bodies, including the city of Chicago, Cook County, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and the agency that owns McCormick Place and Navy Pier.

The firm Burke Burns & Pinelli has done work for agencies whose budgets Harmon votes on, including the Illinois Department of Transportation, and government pension funds regulated by Harmon and his fellow legislators, as well as the village of Rosemont, one of the suburbs he represents in the Illinois Senate, according to records and interviews. []

Harmon who once worked as deputy legal counsel to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago was elected to the state Senate in 2002.

Theres a whole lot of sizzle and not a lot of steak in that piece, not unlike an eerily similar BGA story from 2012

Since bringing an influential state legislator on board as a partner in 2005, a small Chicago law firm has secured at least $6.3 million in legal work from state agencies that receive funding and oversight from the General Assembly, the Better Government Association has learned.

While that relationship smacks of a conflict of interest, its not the only curiosity involving the legislator, state Sen. Don Harmon, and the firm where hes a partner, Burke Burns & Pinelli Ltd.

The BGA also found that Harmon a Democrat from Oak Park who once served as deputy legal counsel to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan voted earlier this year on a casino bill that his firm helped craft on behalf of its client, the City of Des Plaines. []

A BGA review of state financial records shows Burke Burns, a firm of 10 or so attorneys, was paid more than $1 million in each of the past two fiscal years for state-related work.

Overall, the firm was paid more than $6.3 million or an average of $900,000 a year from 2006 to 2012 for state-related work, according to interviews, and documents obtained under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. (Fiscal year 2006 was Harmons first full year with the firm.)

By contrast, in the four years before Harmon joined the firm, annual payments exceeded $575,000 only once, topping out at $711,734, records show. However, those totals may be incomplete because several state agencies indicated they no longer had data for fiscal years 2001 and 2002. In addition, some records relating to bond work are not always tracked by state agencies.

Harmon says if all payments were included it would show the firms state work hasnt increased dramatically since his hiring, especially given the rate of inflation. But he declined to disclose actual payments or turn over financial records to the BGA.

* One of the reporters who wrote todays Sun-Times story was with the BGA when that 2012 story was published. An opinion piece above his name was also published back in 2012. It threw the kitchen sink at Harmon

Harmons street cred as a reformer or progressive has to be questioned.

Why does his law firm advise public-sector clients not to speak to the media?

Why did he vote to water down the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, which ensures journalists and regular citizens can access most government documents?

Why did he accept $300 in campaign donations just a couple months back from D & P Construction, a waste-hauling company thats repeatedly (and publicly) been linked to the Chicago mob?

Why did he introduce a piece of legislation that would allow office holders to double dip hold two elected positions at once?

Peter Silvestri, a Cook County commissioner and Elmwood Parks village president, told the BGA that Harmon fronted that bill at his request. After the BGA learned of the legislation, Harmon relayed that he changed his mind and was withdrawing his support.

But about a month later he quietly resurrected the bill in the form of an amendment to an unrelated piece of legislation. When we tried to ask him about the flip-flop, Harmon wouldnt return our calls. He later told the BGA he regretted getting involved in the matter. The legislation was never approved.

Lastly, although were not into branding people with guilt by association, its worth noting Harmon started out his career as an aide to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat who is the ultimate Machine guy one of the most powerful political figures in the state and one of the largest obstacles to reforming our troubled government system.

This isnt to say Harmon hasnt done good things. In fact, hes worked with the BGA on legislation, including a successful effort to kill the misused and abused legislative scholarship program.

But judged through a larger prism, Harmon isnt challenging the status quo. He is the status quo.

Ergo, todays piece.

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JCPenney to close 13 to 14 percent of stores – Rome Sentinel

Posted: at 6:56 pm

Published Feb 24, 2017 at 12:00pm

NEW YORK (AP) JCPenney said Friday that it will be closing anywhere from 130 to 140 stores as well as two distribution centers over the next several months as it aims to improve profitability in the era of online shopping.

The closures represent about 13 percent to 14 percent of the department store operators current store count, and less than 5 percent of total annual sales. The company said that it would also initiate a voluntary early retirement program for about 6,000 eligible employees.

The company stated it will not announce which stores are to be closed for a month. Locally, there are two locations in Oneida County. One is in Rome in the Freedom Plaza on Erie Boulevard West. The other is in Sangertown Square mall on Commercial Drive in New Hartford.

The news came as the Plano, Texas-based chain posted a profit in the fourth-quarter compared to a loss a year ago. But total sales were down slightly, and a key revenue metric declined slightly as well.

Penney is trying to recover from a catastrophic reinvention plan under former CEO Ron Johnson that sent sales and profits into a free-fall in 2012 and 2013. Business stabilized under Mike Ullman, who took the helm in 2013 after Johnson was pushed out. Under Marvin Ellison, who has been CEO since 2015, Penney is looking for new ways to increase sales while playing catch up in e-commerce. Like other department stores, JCPenney is trying to adjust to changing shopping patterns, and is joining other department stores like Macys, which are shrinking their store footprint. Consumers are shifting their spending away from clothing and toward experiences like beauty treatments or toward furnishing their home. And when they do pick up clothing, its more often at off-price stores or online as Amazon moves more into apparel.

Penneys results capped a week of weak fourth-quarter results from a string of department stores. Kohls Corp. reported Wednesday a drop in fiscal fourth-quarter profit as total sales declined. Revenue at stores opened at least a year dropped 2.2 percent in the quarter. Nordstrom Inc., the department store recently scolded by President Donald Trump, reported late Wednesday a better-than-expected quarterly profit with help from strong sales online and at Nordstrom Rack. But at the Nordstrom brand, comparable store sales decreased 2.7 percent. Macys, the nations largest department store chain, says its earnings for the quarter that includes the holiday period dropped nearly 13 percent as results were dragged down by lower sales, store closures and other costs.

Given the environment, Penney wants to be less dependent on clothing, and is focusing its efforts on its home area and rolling out major appliances in it stores. It has expanded the Sephora beauty shops and is updating its beauty salons, now branded Salon by InStyle. It is also beefing up its store label brands like St. Johns Bay. In the fourth quarter, top performing areas included home, Sephora, its salon business and fine jewelry.

The company is aiming to be more competitive in the digital arena. Penney is arming its store associates with mobile devices to help check out online shoppers who are picking up orders in the store.

For the fiscal fourth quarter, JCPenney reported net income of $192 million, or 61 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, came to 64 cents per share.

The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research were calling for earnings of 61 cents per share.

Revenue totaled $3.96 billion in the period, down 0.9 percent from a year ago. Analysts polled by Zacks expected $3.97 billion in revenue.

Sales at stores opened at least a year, a key gauge of a retailers health, were down 0.7 percent. This figure excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

Penney expects full-year earnings in a range of 40 cents to 65 cents per share.

Its shares fell more than 3 percent in premarket trading.

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Solution created for county builders – Morehead News

Posted: at 6:56 pm

County builders who have had projects on hold due to lack of technical review will finally be able to start construction.

Rowan County Fiscal Court unanimously hired Richie Newton, county surveyor, to a two-month contract as the official in charge of enforcing the countys subdivision regulations during Tuesdays monthly meeting.

Those technical reviews are necessary before the Morehead-Rowan County-Lakeview Heights Joint Planning Commission can approve design plans.

With the retirement of city planner and building inspector Joe Parson last month, those wishing to construct within subdivisions in the county havent been able to begin.

Parson would approve the technical review before it moved to the Commission.

We are just looking for answers on what needs to happen because we have been on hold for months, said Cliff Lewis, area developer.

Lewis said he and his partner Greg Blackburn submitted plans to the city in November, meeting the 21-day requirement of submitting before Decembers commission meeting.

The commission did not meet again until February due to lack of a quorum.

I hope you all understand how big of a bind that this puts us in, said Blackburn. We have put a lot of money into projects in this county and we are really wasting a lot of time, especially with this great weather we are having now.

County Attorney Cecil Watkins said the county was only made aware of the ramifications of Parsons retirement after he had left.

We didnt know this would be the case and my correspondence with Cliff earlier this month was the first time that we were made aware of this issue, Watkins said. Thats something that I believe we need to make a decision on during this meeting so these guys can get to work.

Newton now has the authority through the county to approve the technical reviews so they can be sent to the Planning Commission.

He will be compensated $500 a month for his services.

The county does not having any zoning laws in place; however, there are certain restrictions on how subdivisions are constructed.

After Parson announced his retirement, Mayor Jim Tom Trent said they would begin a search for a new building inspector and city planner with the hopes of hiring someone by March.

In the past, the county has paid the citys building inspector $500 a month to enforce those subdivision regulations.

In other business, Fiscal Court appointed Ashley Adkins and Joe Sartor to the Rowan County Arts Board.

The Court also changed Eagle Trace Road (CR 1459) to Ben Lowe Drive. They added an extension to Rosedale Road (CR 1114).

Fiscal Court also approved Danny Knipps request to insure Freedom Park at $675 a year.

Knipp thanked the court on behalf of the 3,500 veterans in Rowan County.

Also unanimously approved was for all Rowan County dogs at the Tri-County Animal Shelter to be taken to Rowan County Veterinary Clinic to be spayed and neutered.

Brad Stacy can be reached at bstacy@themoreheadnews.com or by telephone at 784-4116.

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Solution created for county builders – Morehead News

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The US Navy Sends a Powerful Message to Beijing in the South China Sea – The Fiscal Times

Posted: February 23, 2017 at 1:41 pm


The Fiscal Times
The US Navy Sends a Powerful Message to Beijing in the South China Sea
The Fiscal Times
On Tuesday, spokesman Geng Shuang said in a posting on the Chinese Foreign Ministry website that while China respects the freedom of navigation we oppose relevant countries threatening and undermining the sovereignty and security of coastal states …

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Ohanaeze Ndigbo decries violence against MASSOB, IPOB – Vanguard

Posted: at 1:41 pm

By Davies Iheamnachor

PORT HARCOURTTHE leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo has called on the Federal Government to give the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra,MASSOB and the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, due attention in their agitation.

The organization expressed worry that the treatment meted against the pro-Biafran groups are inappropriate, urging the FG to give them (MASSOB and IPOB) the same attention given to the Niger Delta Avengers and Boko Haram insurgents.

The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief, John Nwodo, who spoke yesterday in Port Harcourt during his first visit to Igbo resident in the state, said members of MASSOB and IPOB were treated with hatred.

Nwodo wondered why the IPOB and MASSOB members would be arrested and killed at will by the security operatives, adding that no known member of Niger Delta Avengers or Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East has been prosecuted for felony.

He said that if the FG gives the pro-Biafran agitators the neede

d attention, the agitation would be laid to rest. He urged the FG to have a rethink to resolve the issue, even as he called the MASSOB and IPOB for cooperation.

Nwodo said,I extend my hand to the MASSOB and IPOB members to work with us. I understand your frustrations, your plights and impatience. Inspite of the reproach they have used to oppress you, you have remained calm.

Come home, your father has listening ears. I feel bad about how our youths are treated. I know of the Boko Haram terrorising the North-Eastern part of the country. They conquered and displaced community authorities and hoisted their flag, invariably announcing their own country but I have not heard of any of them that was arrested.

I know of the Niger Delta Avengers who are angry as the MASSOB and IPOB and are destroying oil facilities. I dont know any of them that has been arrested. What has IPOB done to be treated differently?

The fact that we have not joined them means that they have not received our cheers because we still believe that the FG can still handle the situation. I call on the Federal Government to have a rethink on how they handle the issues of IPOB and MASSOB. If they treat them as they have treated others, they will have a rethink.

Nwodo appealed to the Igbo to be united, noting that the region has been long neglected.

He said capital projects are not duly given to the states of the South-East and South-South and urged the FG to give the regions fiscal freedom

I am appealing to all Igbo to be united. I feel that dissipating our strength will not help any of us.

I am appreciative to the head of state, that after our election, he extended his hand that he would work with us. I regret that he is not well. Our people feel marginalized, they feel ill-treated.

Nwodo further said: In this country, the most sensitive position pertains to the national security, but there is already a vote of no confidence that the Igbo cannot be trusted with the security of the nation. No Igbo man heads the Nigerian police, no Igbo man heads the military, no Igbo man heads the Federal Road Safety Corps, no Igbo man heads the Department of State Services and others.

I looked at the capital allocation for capital projects in the South-East, I saw a total neglect. If I look into Rivers and Delta States, it is worse. The wealth derived from the South-East and South-South have not been used to develop the areas but are used to enrich individuals outside. but are used to enrich individuals outside.

I dont know why the federal Government does not want to give people fiscal freedom. We are calling for true federalism.

Read more from the original source:

Ohanaeze Ndigbo decries violence against MASSOB, IPOB – Vanguard

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