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Florida Lawmakers Highlight End Of Child Tax Credit Payments Starting This Month

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – This weekend will mark the first time since July that 36 million U.S. families won’t receive a monthly check through the expanded Child Tax Credit.

Eligible families were receiving the $300-per-child monthly checks from the IRS to help pay for groceries and other expenses.

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Florida Representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ted Deutch and Darren Soto held a virtual news conference on Friday calling for the passage of the Build Back Better Act.

President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act, which remains in limbo, would have ensured that families receive a payment on Friday.

Florida lawmakers want the Build Back Better Act to pass in order to make the tax cut permanent to help reduce financial insecurity, food insecurity, and poverty on Florida families.

The Build Back Better Act calls for around $1.75 trillion in new spending which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will be mostly paid for over 10 years. The bill includes $585 billion for family benefits, $570 billion for climate and infrastructure initiatives, $340 billion for healthcare and $215 billion in individual tax credits and cuts.

For many, including working families, the loss of the Child Tax Credit payments means more stress because they don’t have enough money for food.

Parents interviewed by CBS MoneyWatch said they are planning to cut back on essentials like food as well as expenses such as cable TV to try to cope with the double whammy of inflation on top of the expired benefit. Many worried about the impact on their children.

Anti-poverty experts say the impact on children could be extreme. Without the continuation of the monthly payments, about 10 million children are at risk of slipping into poverty, according to a recent estimate from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).

The expanded CTC expired on December 31 when the Build Back Better Act stalled amid opposition from Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia whose support is crucial for the bill’s passage in a divided U.S. Senate. Although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday she believes a deal can still be reached with Manchin, it would not come in time for families to receive payments this week.

Manchin has supported some form of a work requirement for people receiving the payment, out of concern that automatic government aid could cause people to quit their jobs.

Yet the tax credits did not cause an immediate exodus from the workforce, as some lawmakers had feared. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the percentage of people with jobs increased from 58% the month before the monthly payments began to 59.5% last month.

There’s an academic debate over whether the credit could suppress employment in the long term, with most studies suggesting that the impact would be statistically negligible.

It’s unclear whether the CTC will move forward in its expanded form even if Build Back Better is revived. Wall Street analysts, for one, are skeptical that lawmakers will renew the expanded program, with Goldman Sachs calling a full extension “very unlikely.”

“A return to the pre-2021 policy looks most likely, though a much more modest expansion is still possible,” analysts with the investment bank said Monday in a report.

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The size of the credit will be cut in 2022 to $2,000 per eligible child, with full payments only going to families that earned enough income to owe taxes, a policy choice that will limit the benefits for the poorest households. And the credits for 2022 will come only once people file their taxes at the start of the following year.

Nine of 10 families earning an annual salary of less than $36,000 spent the monthly Child Tax Credit payments on essentials, according to CBPP research. The top three spending categories were food, utilities, and rent or mortgage payments, the left-leaning think tank noted.

Families are planning to cut back on essentials and expenses to cope with the financial hit.

Among them is Melissa Boyles, 63, who is caring for her 16-year-old granddaughter, both of whose parents have passed away. With the extra $250 a month, Boyles was able to buy extras like a $36 roast and a type of pasta that her granddaughter liked, as well as new clothing for the teen.

To help ease the pain of losing her family, Boyles got her granddaughter a puppy, but is now worried she might not be able to pay for the dog’s upkeep.

“I am concerned about giving the puppy up — he needs shots and dog tags, which cost $6, but that’s a lot of money when you need milk and bread,” said Boyles, who explained that she and her husband are both on disability and receive a combined total of about $2,000 a month in benefits.

She is also anxious about Manchin’s reported insistence that if the expanded CTC were to be renewed, it should come with a work requirement — neither she nor her husband work given that they are disabled. In Boyles’ view, there are many grandparents like her who are taking care of their grandchildren and are either retired or disabled, and she said this requirement would simply hurt children who are at no fault.

“Why should she be punished because her parents are deceased, and we are elderly grandparents taking care of her?” Boyles said of her granddaughter.

The expanded CTC not only provided families with more cushion in their budgets, but also helped buoy local economies because the money was typically spent on groceries, rent, clothing, education, and other daily expenses.

In 2021, the enhanced program was projected to increase total U.S. consumer spending by $27 billion and generate $1.9 billion in new local and state taxes, according to a study from the moderate Niskanen Center.

Officials in Florida said this month that the state collected almost $400 million more in taxes than it had expected, pointing to the CTC as one factor behind the surplus, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

For now, families say they are reworking their budgets, with some holding out hope that the expanded CTC may return in some form. Anti-poverty experts are also continuing to advocate for the tax credit. Without legislative changes, the CTC in 2022 will revert to its prior form — a $2,000 tax credit taken annually, versus the expanded CTC’s credit of up to $3,600 per child, with half provided in monthly cash payments.

In the meantime, parents should file their tax returns as soon as they can to claim the other half of their CTC, which the IRS will provide via their tax refund, noted Greg Nasif, political director of anti-poverty nonprofit Humanity Forward. The IRS will start processing tax returns on January 24.

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(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CBSNews and The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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After Democrats walk out of Ladapo confirmation hearing, Republicans unanimously support him

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Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at the Orlando Sentinel.

TALLAHASSEE — Democrats walked out of a confirmation hearing for Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, saying he didn’t adequately answer questions on his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Republicans then unanimously voted for the polarizing public health chief’s confirmation.

His nomination still requires a vote from the full Senate.

Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book pressed Ladapo repeatedly to give a yes or no answer on whether vaccines are effective against COVID-19 at a meeting of the Health Policy Committee on Wednesday,

“Yes or no questions are not that easy to find in science,” he said. “… The most commonly used vaccines in the United States … have been shown to have relatively high effectiveness for the prevention of hospitalization and death and over time relatively low protection for infection.”

Book responded, “We get two buttons to push here, Dr. Ladapo. Yes or no. Do vaccines work in preventing COVID-19? Yes or no.”

Ladapo, who serves as Florida’s public health chief, said he is “married to data” and reiterated his answer that the vaccines have “reasonable effectiveness” against hospitalization and death.

Ladapo also declined to endorse masks, saying they hadn’t been shown to have a significant effect on the spread of COVID-19. That’s at odds with the advice of most public health officials who say masks, particularly N95 masks, are an effective way to slow transmission.

He wouldn’t explain why Dr. Raul Pino, Orange County’s health chief, was put on administrative leave, saying there was an active inquiry. Pino was put on leave after he sent an email to staff highlighting the department’s low COVID-19 vaccination rate and urging them to get vaccinated.

“I want to clarify that particular position was absolutely not placed on administrative leave for any reasons that were potentially political or related to anything other than the policies we have in the Department of Health,” Ladapo said.

Senators asked whether Ladapo regretted not agreeing to state Sen. Tina Polsky’s request to wear a mask during a meeting, a dispute that made national headlines. The Boca Raton Democrat had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.

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Ladapo wouldn’t say whether he had regrets, instead stressing that he thought it was important to “respect people’s preferences.”

“We don’t feel we are getting any answers,” Book, D-Plantation, said after about an hour of questioning. “We know there is a long agenda today with a lot of bills. The Florida Senate Democrats in this committee are now going to abstain, walk out and come back when we have more business.”

After the walkout, Ladapo told reporters he thought he had accurately answered the questions.

“I wish them well,” he said. “I have no ill will toward them. I hope we can work together on issues of public health.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

sswisher@orlandosentinel.com

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What’s happening in Miami this spring?

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As another semester arrives, we are all excited to explore the experiences that come with living in Miami. Between music, food and fashion, the entertainment scene this spring is full of exciting events. Public health and safety are still among our top priorities, so choose your outings wisely and make sure to follow all COVID-19 precautions like mask-wearing, hand-washing and social distancing.

South Beach Wine and Food Festival

Hosted by the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, the South Beach Wine and Food Festival is an annual event that showcases the world’s top wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities.

From Feb. 24-27, the festival will hold wine tastings and seminars, high-class brunches and dinners, fitness sessions, family events and late-night parties. Some of this year’s talent includes culinary celebrity Guy Fieri, TV personality Rachel Ray and even singer Adam Levine hosting a high-class dinner.

Miami Open

Taking place from March 21 through April 3, the Miami Open returns to South Florida for another year! Featuring the world’s 96 top male and female tennis players, the international tennis tournament will take place at Hard Rock Stadium, which is home to both the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes football teams.

While it hasn’t yet been confirmed who will appear at the annual event, current tennis rankings hint that favorites like Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic will both compete. Past winners include Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Roger Federer. Tennis enthusiasts can secure tickets online for groups and single sessions, as well as partial and full tournament packages.

Carnaval Miami

Taking place in March, Carnaval is a celebration of all things Miami, with a diverse lineup of events that cover art, music, fashion, food and sports. Carnaval on the Mile, happening the weekend of March 5 and 6, will feature art vendors, local cuisine and three concert stages boasting a cultural explosion of jazz, funk and rock music.

Other events, like the crowning of Miss Carnaval Miami in February, the annual golf and domino tournaments in Little Havana and the 5v5 soccer challenge in April all come together to round out the anticipated, high-energy Miami event.

Calle Ocho Music Festival

Located in the heart of Little Havana, the nation’s largest Latin music event highlights the vibrant Latin and Caribbean cultures here in South Florida. After Calle Ocho was canceled the last two years, the 2022 festival is set for March 13 and is free to attend.

Though the lineup has yet to be announced, the 20 blocks of Little Havana will feature 10 stages and a plethora of musical and dance performances, as well as international food and fun for all age demographics.

Ultra 2019
Ultra 2019 Photo credit: Hunter Crenian

Ultra Music Festival

After being canceled in both 2020 and 2021, Ultra Music Festival will return to Miami this March! Held at Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami, the three-day outdoor event will take place from March 25-27.

With a focus on electronic dance music, Ultra features a star-studded lineup of renowned DJ s —among them are David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Tiesto, KYGO and DJ Snake. Though they’re selling out quickly, three-day tickets can be purchased on the Ultra Music Festival website.

Concerts galore

Is live music finally making a comeback? Artists from every genre are coming to the Miami area this spring.

If you’re into pop or R&B, make sure to grab a ticket and see Dua Lipa on her Future Nostalgia Tour or Justin Bieber on his Justice World Tour. Those who enjoy rap will be thrilled to hear that Amine, Tyler the Creator and Brockhampton are also playing venues in Miami. Is reggaeton more your style? Then you won’t want to miss J Balvin’s concert in May or Bad Bunny’s show at the FTX Arena this April.

For a full list of artists performing in the next few months, check out Ticketmaster for more information.

Senior Mirza Tanis walks the runway in a matching three-piece, Ankara outfit in 2019.
Senior Mirza Tanis walks the runway in a matching three-piece, Ankara outfit in 2019. Photo credit: Nathalie Moreau

ASU Fashion Show & A Taste of Africa

The African Students Union did not come to play this spring. Join the organization as their two most beloved events return to campus! Both events are a celebration of the various African cultures, and there is always an abundance of cultural food and performances.

A Taste of Africa will be held on Wednesday, March 23rd, with more details like location to be determined. Dates for the fashion show are also TBD, so make sure to follow @asu_miami on Instagram and join the ASU Engage page to stay updated!

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MIAMI’S ELITE FROST SCHOOL OF MUSIC PRESENTS A WORLD PREMIERE OPERA BASED ON ONE OF THE GREATEST NOVELS OF ALL TIME LATER ADAPTED TO CLASSIC AWARD-WINNING FILM

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THE LEOPARD

Music by Michael Dellaira

Libretto by J. D. McClatchy

 SATURDAY AND SUNDAY– MARCH 5 and 6, 2022 

South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center

10950 SW 211 St. Cutler Bay, FL 33189

786-573-5300/ SMDCAC.ORG

Showtime:  3:00 PM

Based On Il Gattopardo, One Of The Greatest Literary Works Of The 20th Century Later Adapted To A Feature Film Considered One Of The Top Films Ever Made Starring

Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon, and Winner of the Prestigious 

Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival

  • MET OPERA Baritone Kim Josephson joins star colleagues Robynne Redmon, Frank Ragsdale, and Kevin Short, with the rising students of the Frost Opera Theater 
  • World Renowned Maestro Gerard Schwarz Conducts the Frost Symphony Orchestra
  • Alan Johnson, Music Director
  • Jeffrey Buchman, Stage Director
  • Award-winning film The Leopard- special single engagement at Coral Gables Art Cinema Feb. 27 

With South Florida establishing itself as one of the premiere performing arts destinations in the world, it is befitting that an important work is having its world premiere in the Magic City.  An opera adapted from one of the great novels of the 20th century has awarded its debut to the world-renowned artist faculty and gifted students of the Frost Opera Theater and Frost Symphony Orchestra of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. With members of its faculty led by Metropolitan Opera baritone Kim Josephson in the title role and 9-time Emmy Winning  internationally renowned Maestro Gerard Schwarz conducting the Frost Symphony Orchestra, the world premiere of the opera, THE LEOPARD will take place March 5 and 6, 2022  at the South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center;  10950 SW 211 St. Cutler Bay, FL 33189.  Showtime for both shows is 3:00 PM.  For tickets call 786-573-5300 or visit SMDCAC.ORG.

Set in Sicily in the year 1860, the opera is told through the eyes of Don Fabrizio Corbera, Prince of Salina (also known as the Leopard). Known for his commanding personality, he is a member of an impoverished Sicilian aristocracy soon to be obsolete. Now facing a society in upheaval, he is forced to choose between decay and progress, and between the downfall of the nobility and the future of his family.

This highly anticipated opera, THE LEOPARD is the third and last collaboration between Michael Dellaira and American poet, librettist, and literary critic  J. D. McClatchy.  Dellaira completed the score in February 2018, just two months before McClatchy’s death.   He is also the first composer granted operatic rights to The Leopard in over 50 years. The opera was commissioned by American Opera Projects, with funds provided by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation and the Paul Underwood Charitable Trust.  

For further information, visit: www.frost.miami.edu. Follow us at @FrostSchool.


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