Tag: budget

Nassau Humane Society rescues 16 dogs from Puerto Rico amid $150,000 budget deficit

More than a dozen dogs landed in Florida Friday from Puerto Rico and are waiting for their forever home at the Nassau Humane Society.

16 dogs rescued out of Puerto Rico arrive in Nassau County

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However, the humane society is in trouble and $150,000 in the red. The COVID-19 pandemic closed the society’s thrift store for two months and shut down all in-person fundraisers. 

“When they come off the plane and you see little guys like this, it is just so exciting,” said Mandy Holden, operations manager at the Nassau Humane Society.

The pups are among 150 the Big Dog Ranch Rescue flew in from a dilapidated in Puerto Rico, which had just five staff members to care for around 800 dogs. 

“They were all really scared being on a cargo plane across the ocean and then coming into an airport when they’ve never been off a dirt floor,” Holden said. 

Holden said the dogs lived their lives in filthy chicken coops or dirty cages in their own feces with no social interaction. The puppies and dogs range in age from three months to three years old. 



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“They’re all probably Lab mixes. That’s what they look like. We’ve got a couple Husky-Lab mixes, gorgeous dogs,” Holden said. “They’re really all awesome temperaments and laid back.”

You may be wondering what you can do if you want to donate to the pup’s care or adopt one of the dogs yourself?

“Obviously, with all these dogs we take in, they do have a lot of medical expenses, so if anyone would like to help us with that, with medical costs or care, they can go to our website, at nassauhumane.org or stop be here at the shelter,” said Dr. Mandy Kulbel, a veterinarian with the Nassau Humane Society. 

“We’re kind of their only chance of living a healthy, happy live,” Holden said. 

The pups will live a new life in a new country, all while putting their best paw forward. 

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U.S. Budget Gap Tripled in Fiscal 2020 as Government Battled Pandemic

The annual deficit reached 15.2%, the largest since 1945. The U.S. Capitol building in Washington.



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WASHINGTON—The U.S. budget deficit tripled in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, the Congressional Budget Office said Thursday, as the government battled a global pandemic that plunged the country into a recession.

The budget gap in the fiscal year 2020 widened to $3.1 trillion from $984 billion a year earlier, the nonpartisan CBO said. As a share of economic output, the annual deficit reached 15.2%, the largest since 1945, when the country was financing massive military operations to help end World War II.

A surge of federal spending to combat the coronavirus and cushion the U.S. economy, coupled with a drop-off in federal revenues amid widespread shutdowns and layoffs, contributed to the widening deficit this year.

Receipts totaled $3.4 trillion, a 1% decline from the previous year, with much of the drop occurring since March, when the virus began spreading across the country. Outlays hit $6.5 trillion, a 47% increase from last year, as the government ramped up spending on emergency loans for small businesses, enhanced jobless benefits and stimulus payments for American households.

U.S. federal debt is projected to exceed 100% of U.S. gross domestic product in the 2021 fiscal year. WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib highlights three reasons why the U.S. is headed toward a milestone not seen since World War II. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg News (Originally published Sept. 2, 2020)

Write to Kate Davidson at kate.davidson@wsj.com

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Albanese proposes government spending to aid recovery in budget reply speech

In his budget reply speech, Anthony Albanese has flicked the switch from “we’ll have policies before the next election” to “here, have three policies”.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


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a man wearing a suit and tie looking at the camera: Anthony Albanese says Labor will lift the childcare subsidy, map a plan to encourage more trains and modernise the grid, lowering energy prices and creating jobs.


© Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP
Anthony Albanese says Labor will lift the childcare subsidy, map a plan to encourage more trains and modernise the grid, lowering energy prices and creating jobs.

So what were the big ideas the Labor leader unveiled on Thursday night?

Rewiring the nation

Labor will invest $20bn (off budget) to establish a government-owned entity, Rewiring the Nation Corporation, to rebuild and modernise the electricity grid.

Think of it as the NBN Co of the electricity grid, a government body to make investments in infrastructure we all use that delivers an economic benefit but may not be built quickly (or at all) by the private sector.

Related: The arts sector is already suffering. This year’s budget just pours salt on the wound | Leya Reid

The corporation will make investments and partner with industry to deliver the Australian Energy Market Operator’s integrated system plan – a blueprint promising to transform the grid from one designed to deliver coal-fired electricity from centralised power plants to one that integrates a higher mix of renewables.

The system plan, released in July, identified projects such as the Marinus Link interconnector to Tasmania, the HumeLink transmission line and the Central-West Orana renewable energy zone transmission link as priorities.

It suggested that renewable energy may at times provide nearly 90% of electricity by 2035; and that 26 gigawatts of new large solar and wind farms and six and 19 gigawatts of dispatchable power will be needed to replace 15 gigawatts of coal-fired generation that is scheduled to shut.

According to Labor, fixing transmission is technology neutral but the grid will deliver “renewables as the cheapest new energy source” – lowering costs for electricity consumers.

Albanese said by “using the commonwealth’s ability to borrow at lower interest rates, it will be done at the lowest possible cost”. The corporation will have a mandate to recover its real costs, not to deliver a commercial return or profit to government.

Albanese said the policy will deliver a boost to the economy of “up to $40bn and create thousands of new jobs”.

According to AEMO, that $40bn benefit will be realised under the fastest-paced “step-change scenario” in which “consumer-led and technology-led transitions occur in the midst of aggressive global decarbonisation and strong infrastructure commitment”.

Childcare subsidy boost

Albanese said the childcare system “penalises the families it’s meant to help” because “for millions of working women, it’s simply not worth working more than three days a week”. That’s because the combination of tax and the cap on childcare subsidies can mean an extra day’s care costs more an extra day’s earnings.

Labor will:

  • Scrap the $10,560 annual childcare subsidy cap.

  • Lift the maximum childcare subsidy rate to 90%.

  • Increase childcare subsidy rates and taper them for every family earning less than $530,000.

Under Labor’s plan, families earning

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Australia to Run Record Budget Deficit as Government Cuts Tax, Boosts Job Support | Investing News

By Sam Holmes and Colin Packham

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia pledged billions in tax cuts and measures to boost jobs on Tuesday to help pull the economy out of its historic COVID-19 slump in a budget that tips the country into its deepest deficit on record.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s conservative government has unleashed A$300 billion in emergency stimulus to prop up growth this year, having seen the coronavirus derail a previous promise to return the budget to surplus.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Tuesday announced A$17.8 billion in personal tax cuts and A$5.2 billion in new programmes to boost employment in a recovery plan aimed at creating one million new jobs over the next four years.

Those measures are forecast to push the budget deficit out to a record A$213.7 billion, or 11% of gross domestic product, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021.

“There is no economic recovery without a jobs recovery,” Frydenberg said in prepared remarks to parliament. “There is no budget recovery without a jobs recovery.”

Australia’s unemployment rate hit a 22-year high of 7.5% in July as businesses and borders closed due to strict lockdown measures to deal with the coronavirus.

While the number of deaths and infections in Australia from COVID-19 has been low compared with many other countries, the hit to GDP has been severe. Underlying the budget forecasts was an assumption that a vaccine would be developed in 2021.

Australia’s A$2 trillion economy shrank 7% in the three months ended June, the most since records began in 1959.

In its new projections, the government expects unemployment to rise to 7.25% by the end of the current fiscal year and then fall to 6% by June 2023. Australia’s GDP is expected to shrink 1.5% for the current fiscal year before returning to growth of 4.75% in the next.

S&P Global Ratings said Australia remained only one of 11 countries with the highest credit rating of AAA, albeit with a negative outlook, and said fiscal recovery would take years.

“While debt is markedly higher than the past, servicing costs remain manageable, as the interest-rate environment will remain favourable for a number of years,” said Anthony Walker, a director at the rating agency.

Gross debt is projected to surpass A$1 trillion in 2021/22, from A$684 billion in 2019/20, and then rise to around A$1.14 trillion by 2023/24.

The government said it will spend A$4 billion over the next year to pay businesses that hire those under the age of 35 as it targets youth unemployment.

The budget also brings forward previously legislated tax cuts for middle-income earners and extends tax breaks for individuals offered in last year’s budget for low- and middle-income earners.

Some of these cuts will be retrospectively backdated to July 1, 2020.

The government’s highly expansionary budget comes shortly after the central bank’s policy decision on Tuesday, at which it kept interest rates at a record low and flagged reducing high unemployment rate as a national priority.

The Reserve Bank of Australia

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Budget 2020: Federal government backflips as R&D tax incentive receives AU$2b boost

In handing down its 2020-21 Budget, the Australian government has opened its wallet to provide a AU$2 billion boost in additional research and development tax incentives (RDTI), touting that the amount will help businesses manage the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Research and development, the adoption of digital technology, and affordable and reliable energy will be critical to Australia’s future economic prosperity,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said during his Budget speech.

The federal government detailed in its Budget documents that for small companies, with total annual turnovers of less than AU$20 million, the refundable R&D tax offset will be set at 18.5 percentage points above a company’s tax rate, and the AU$4 million cap on annual cash refunds will be canned.

Meanwhile, for larger firms, with annual turnovers of AU$20 million or more, the government said it will reduce the number of intensity tiers from three to two.

“This will provide greater certainty for R&D investment, while still rewarding those companies that commit a greater proportion of their business expenditure to R&D,” the government stated.

The changes will commence from 1 July 2021, with Frydenberg touting that the changes would help more than 11,400 companies that invest in research and development.

Read also: Australian tech unicorns say R&D scheme misses the mark

The government also confirmed all other aspects of the 2019-20 mid-year economic and fiscal outlook, including the increase to the R&D expenditure threshold from AU$100 million to AU$150 million per annum.

The announcement follows recent calls by the country’s startup ecosystem for government to amend the R&D tax incentive, as they are concerned with the proposed changes to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Research and Development Tax Incentive) Bill 2019.

In February last year, the Senate Economics Legislation Committee asked for the R&D Bill to be taken back to the drawing board, saying at the time it recognised the need for government to maintain public confidence in the integrity and financial sustainability of the R&D tax incentive, but that it was not confident the introduced measures would provide exactly that.

For other parts of the research community, the federal government has handed the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) an extra AU$459 million over four years as part of 2020-21 Budget. The government said this cash injection would help CSIRO “address the impacts of COVID-19 on its commercial activities and ensure it is able to continue essential scientific research”. 

The additional funding for CSIRO is timely, given its ON program wrapped up in the middle of this year, after funding for it dried up. The Australian government had previously handed it AU$20 million over four years under its AU$1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda to help commercialise the country’s research. 

See: Team Australia: CSIRO’s multimillion-dollar post-coronavirus plan

In this latest Budget, AU$1 billion has also been allocated to support universities’ costs of research.

Specifically, this will include AU$41.6 million over four years to together universities and local industries to partner on innovative reform projects; AU$20 million over

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Morrison government to spend $1.6bn funding at-home care for older Australians | Australian budget 2020

The Morrison government says it will fund 23,000 new packages for older Australians waiting to receive at home care, at a cost of $1.6bn.

Tuesday’s budget increases the number of approved home care packages available over the next four years in response to both the aged care royal commission and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The interim report of the royal commission found the government needed to act urgently to reduce waiting times for older Australians seeking in-home support.

For the past two years, more than 100,000 Australians have been on wait lists for approved home care packages, with tens of thousands entering residential care prematurely as a result.

The government has been under pressure over its aged care response during the pandemic. There have been more than 670 deaths nationally in aged care facilities, more than 640 of those in Victoria, and older Australians have been left to languish in soiled beds and clothes without proper food and hydration.

The health minister, Greg Hunt, said on Tuesday there would be an extra $81m for additional staff and training, on top of $101.2m the government announced for this purpose in March.

The health budget comprises $467bn in overall spending over four years, $16.5bn of that makes up the emergency response to the pandemic.

The government says it will increase funding for hospitals by $33.6bn over the new five-year national health reform agreement and provide $5.7bn for mental health, including already announced funding to double the number if Medicare-funded psychology sessions from 10 to 20.

Hunt said the budget would fund the government’s ongoing response to the pandemic and “helps chart the road out”, with aged care “a particular focus”.

Total funding in aged care will be $23.9bn over the forward estimates – an increase of $2.2bn Hunt said – including the $1.6bn for home care packages.

The treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, said on Tuesday night that aged care was “one of the greatest challenges we face in delivering essential services to Australians”.

He said additional responses and funding would be informed by the final report from the royal commission.

“The government will provide a comprehensive response to the final recommendations following receipt of that report,” he said. “This will involve significant additional investment.”

Tuesday’s budget includes $2.3bn in announced funding for investment in Covid-19 treatments and vaccines and funding for the listing of new drugs on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme, including Lynparza for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

The government will provide $750m in funding for Covid-19 testing, $171m for the extended operation of up to 150 dedicated respiratory clinics to manage and diagnose Covid-19 cases, and $112m for the continuation of Medicare rebated telehealth services for GP, allied health and specialist consultations.

The government said it would provide a further $3.9bn for the NDIS.

The government said it would also provide a “targeted capital gains tax exemption” for granny flats – where there is a written agreement – that will apply to older Australians and Australians with a disability.

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Australia tips into record budget deficit as government cuts tax, boosts jobs support

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia pledged billions in tax cuts and measures to boost jobs on Tuesday to help pull the economy out of its historic COVID-19 slump in a budget that tips the country into its deepest deficit on record.

FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks at Admiralty House in Sydney, Australia, February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s conservative government has unleashed A$300 billion in emergency stimulus to prop up growth this year, backpedalling on a previous promise to return the budget to surplus.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Tuesday announced A$17.8 billion in personal tax cuts and A$5.2 billion in new programmes to boost employment in a recovery plan aimed at creating one million new jobs over the next four years.

Those measures are forecast to push the budget deficit out to a record A$213.7 billion, or 11% of gross domestic product, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021.

“There is no economic recovery without a jobs recovery,” Frydenberg said in prepared remarks to parliament. “There is no budget recovery without a jobs recovery.”

Australia’s unemployment rate hit a 22-year high of 7.5% in July as businesses and borders closed due to strict lockdown measures to deal with the coronavirus.

While the number of deaths and infections in Australia from COVID-19 has been low compared with many other countries, the hit to GDP has been severe.

Australia’s A$2 trillion economy shrank 7% in the three months ended June, the most since records began in 1959.

In its new projections, the government expects unemployment to rise to 7.25% by the end of the current fiscal year and then fall to 6% by June 2023. Australia’s GDP is expected to shrink 1.5% for the current fiscal year before returning to growth of 4.75% in the next.

JOBS PUSH

Australia will spend A$4 billion over the next year to pay businesses that hire those under the age of 35 as it targets youth unemployment.

The budget also brings forward previously legislated tax cuts for middle-income earners and extends tax breaks for individuals offered in last year’s budget for low- and middle-income earners.

Some of these cuts will be retrospectively backdated to July 1, 2020.

The government’s highly expansionary budget comes shortly after the central bank’s policy decision on Tuesday, at which it kept interest rates at a record low and flagged reducing high unemployment rate as a national priority.

The Reserve Bank of Australia has slashed interest rates this year to 0.25% and pumped billions into the bond market to keep credit flowing to the economy.

Both the fiscal and monetary support this year has helped restore consumption and business confidence and bring the unemployment rate down to 6.8%.

Frydenberg has pledged to pare the heavy fiscal support once the unemployment rate falls “comfortably below 6%”.

Australia delayed the release of this year’s federal budget, which usually takes place in May, as the coronavirus upended most of the economic assumptions underlying its projections.

While most of the

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Government to finalise “pragmatic” and “realistic” workplace reforms following the federal budget

The federal government is poised to finalise its much-anticipated package of workplace relations reforms within weeks, says Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter, who told an event on Tuesday that the proposed changes will be “pragmatic, appropriately balanced and … realistic in scope”. 



Christian Porter wearing a suit and tie: Christian-Porter-IR-workplace-reforms


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Addressing the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia, Porter revealed the reforms will be finalised in the weeks following the federal budget, which is to be handed down next week on October 6, and introduced into parliament in “coming months”. 

Since June, Porter has been leading roundtable discussions with employer and union groups in a bid to find middle ground in five key areas of workplace relations reform. 

These areas include the enterprise bargaining system, greenfields agreements, award complexity, compliance and enforcement, and casuals and temporary workers.

Small business advocates had put forward a proposal to do away with numerous complex award provisions in favour of a small business award, however, it became clear last month that talks in this area had concluded without broad agreement. 

On Tuesday, Porter indicated that with all of the discussions now finalised — “after 33 meetings spanning some 120 hours” — the government will move ahead with a reform agenda regardless. 

“The working groups have last week formally concluded and now the time-bound task of synthesising views into workable products for change is on foot with a view to having legislative products finished in the weeks after the next budget,” Porter said. 

While he said there may still be an opportunity for the groups to find “a degree of consensus”, the government will ultimately “take what we’ve learnt from this process away and come up with products that we think will deliver the best outcomes for the Australian people”. 

“The government intends that meaningful reforms will be brought to the parliament in coming months,” he added. 

While Porter said the discussions were “extremely useful” and undertaken in “good faith” by all involved, he also said the process of trying to find agreement between employer groups and unions “is about as easy as getting Clive Palmer and Mark McGowan to go out for a relaxed dinner together”. 

The Minister did not indicate what may be included in the reforms, but said the process will “not be driven by ideology”. 

“It will need to be pragmatic, appropriately balanced and be realistic in scope,” he said. 

“It will be driven by the necessity to improve employers’ confidence to hire and thereby create jobs. That is the singular goal of this process.”

“Polarising or extreme proposals aren’t likely to be successful, especially given the current make-up of the Australian Senate that any legislative options will need to pass through,” he added. 

NOW READ: Small business leaders call for $5,000 viability review subsidy to be included in the budget

NOW READ: Tax reform, wage incentives and an IR overhaul: What SMEs want from the 2020-21 budget

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