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Today's Top Stories - Wednesday July 29th, 2020

Wheeler Says Steuben Waiting on DC; Warning Possible State Aid Cut
Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler says Steuben County is waiting on Washington to learn more about Steuben’s fiscal future and how the next stimulus can harm or help the county. Wheeler cites the spring economic shutdown that took a major hit on businesses of all sizes in the county, state and nation and has a direct impact on sales taxes- which is a major source of revenue in Steuben County. Wheeler hopes there will be more revisions made to the stimulus bill, as there is currently no aid for the state or local level in terms of more support through funding and noted “the real issue is if state and local governments aren't given any form of relief in revenue that we lost, there will be a significant impact upon services. The state has already said if that stimulus funding does not happen, that we're going to be looking at a 20 percent cut of state aid.”


Reed Optimistic About Reaching Agreement on HEALS Act
Senate Republicans revealed their latest Coronavirus relief package on Monday and Congressman Tom Reed believes three priorities can be added in the bill before it gets a vote. Reed is anticipating that an agreement can be made within the next seven to ten days. The HEALS Act proposes the second round of $1,200 stimulus checks for individuals plus more aid for families who are caring for adult dependents.


Majority of NYS School Board Members Want to Reopen in Fall
A majority of New York school board members say they would like to see students go back to classrooms on either a full-time or part-time basis according to a poll by the New York State School Boards Association. The poll found 71% of board members asked said they felt their district could “not safely open schools in accordance with state guidelines in the absence of additional state or federal funding” while 29% said they believe schools in their district could reopen safely without additional aid. The poll also reports that 42% of board member support having students return to in-classroom instruction in September full-time with 34% supporting part-time in-person instruction. Fifteen percent of school board members said students should not go back at all in the fall.


Three States Added to NY Travel Advisory
New York’s travel advisory list had Illinois, Kentucky and Minnesota added to it yesterday and brings the total number of states on the advisory list to 34. This means anyone traveling from any of the listed states must quarantine for two weeks when arriving in New York state. Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico were also added.


United Way Kicks Off Kids On Track Program for Literacy
The United Way of the Southern Tier (UWST) aims to keep kids on track this summer with reading by supporting a literacy program for children starting kindergarten this fall in Steuben County. The Kids on Track Steuben Summer Literacy Program provides virtual classroom instruction and support to 45 children over the course of five weeks with the goal to help 4-year-olds from socioeconomically challenged backgrounds, who otherwise may not be able to participate in summer education or enrichment opportunities. The Triangle Fund has joined UWST to support the effort and bring $14,983 to the program. The United Way reports that summer 2019 the program had 30 children participating with 60 percent  of kids maintained their overall learning from the previous school year, and 40 percent increased their overall learning.


US GOP Leaders Propose Unemployment Bonus Cut
Senate GOP leaders are warning of weeks or even months of delays in getting benefits to those on unemployment. A new Republican proposal would eliminate the $600 weekly benefit boost for those left jobless due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Republicans say the $600 per week bonus expiring this week is too high and encourages people to not work. GOP leaders want the benefit cut by two-thirds, to $200 per week through September, then begin switching to a percentage of no more than 70% of what the person made before the pandemic. However, Democrats like U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says cutting unemployment benefits to $200 per week would result in 3.4 million more layoffs and cause a “slide into a greater degree of recession.”

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