Daily Briefing – 278

Budget Deal Reached: The $212 Billion Spending Plan is Nearly 10% More Than Last Year

New York State leaders announced they had reached an agreement on Tuesday on a $212 billion state budget that includes tax increases on the wealthy as well as substantial relief for renters, undocumented immigrants and business owners hit hardest by the coronavirus.

It includes $2.3 billion in federal funds to help tenants late on rent and a $2.1 billion fund to provide one-time payments for undocumented workers who did not qualify for federal stimulus checks or unemployment benefits, according to budget highlights released by the governor’s office. New tax hikes on the rich and increases to corporate taxes are expected to generate more than $4 billion in additional revenue each year. 

Read more at the New York Times

NYS Vaccine Update – Everyone 16 and Over Eligible

New Yorkers 16 years of age and older became eligible in  New York Yesterday. As of 11 am Tuesday 6,747,895 (plus 100,675 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 4,233,463 are fully vaccinated (Plus 99,616).  In the Hudson Valley 694,157 (plus 14,369) have at least one dose and 396,439 (plus 13,184) are fully vaccinated. 

COVID Update – Essential Worker Monument In the Works

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday afternoon providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Monday April 5th.  The Governor also announced the creation of the Essential Workers Advisory Committee to provide design input and recommendations for a monument in New York City honoring the service and sacrifice of New York’s essential workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Essential Workers Monument will recognize the 17 essential worker groups whose members continued selflessly serving their fellow New Yorkers during the State’s coronavirus pandemic response. These groups include: Nurses, Doctors, Hospital Staff, Teachers, Transport Workers, Police, Ambulance/EMT, Firefighters, Corrections, Sanitation, National Guard, Store Employees, Government Employees, Building Service Workers, Utility Workers, Delivery Drivers, and Construction/Manufacturing.

Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,533
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 519

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,060
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 371

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.57%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.63%

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US Vaccine Rollout – 3.1 Million Shots Per Day

The U.S. administered an average of 3.1 million Covid-19 shots per day over the last seven days and hit a new record over the weekend with more than 4 million shots administered in a single day as vaccine manufacturing picks up pace and more mass vaccination sites open, White House senior advisor for Covid-19 Andy Slavitt told reporters Monday.

He added that 75% of seniors have now received at least one shot, and more than half are fully vaccinated.  The daily coronavirus death toll in the U.S. is at its lowest level in months as the country ramps up the pace of vaccine administration.

Read more at CNBC

CDC Issues Updated Guidance on Travel for Fully Vaccinated People

Last Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its travel guidance for fully vaccinated people to reflect the latest evidence and science. Given recent studies evaluating the real-world effects of vaccination, CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk to themselves.

A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last recommended dose of vaccine. Fully vaccinated people can travel within the United States and do not need COVID-19 testing or post-travel self-quarantine as long as they continue to take COVID-19 precautions while traveling – wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, socially distancing, and washing hands frequently

ISM : America’s Services Sector Hit an All-Time High in March

The upbeat survey from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) on Monday followed news on Friday that the economy added 916,000 jobs last month, the most since August. Economic growth this year is expected to be the best in nearly four decades.

The ISM’s non-manufacturing activity index rebounded to a reading of 63.7 last month also due to warmer weather. That was the highest in the survey’s history and followed 55.3 in February.

Read more at Reuters

U.K. to Ease Lockdown as Covid-19 Vaccination Campaign Turns the Tide

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.K. will begin to relax more public-health restrictions starting next week and remains on course to fully reopen its economy by the summer, after months of lockdown and a speedy vaccination campaign turned back a deadly tide of infection.

The U.K.’s changing fortunes contrast with a worsening picture in other parts of Europe, where rising caseloads and faltering vaccine rollouts mean governments are under pressure to tighten controls to beat back a resurgent pandemic. France imposed a new nationwide lockdown last week, while in Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel is pushing powerful regional governments to implement tougher measures to curb infections.

Read more at the WSJ

Port Authority Predicts Stewart Airline Growth Post-COVID

The executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey predicts airline growth at New York Stewart International Airport post-COVID. Rick Cotton acknowledges while airlines have tightened their belts since the pandemic struck, they will be critical in their selection of new markets, and he believes the Hudson Valley will be one of them.

Regional economic development officials are counting on new attractions like Legoland and existing facilities like Resorts World Catskills and the adjacent waterpark to be factors that will entice airlines to grow service in the region.

Read more at the Mid-Hudson News

FAA Approves Design of 737 MAX 8200 Variant

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Wednesday it had approved the design for the Boeing 737-8200, part of the Boeing 737 MAX series, a necessary step before the U.S. planemaker can begin delivering the airplanes to Ryanair.

The FAA said the 737-8200 incorporates all of the design improvements that were part the 20-month review of the 737 MAX that led to the ungrounding of the MAX in November, more than a year after two fatal crashes killed 346 people.

Read more at Reuters

Congressional Research Service Report on State and Federal Authority to Mandate Vaccination: Police Powers vs. Free Exercise Clause

This report provides an overview of state and federal authority to mandate vaccination. The first part of the report discusses the Supreme Court’s long-standing recognition of state and local authority to mandate vaccination as an exercise of their police power, as well as modern courts’ analyses of more recent challenges to state vaccination mandates based on the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause. The first part of the report closes with a look at how the COVID-19 vaccines’ EUA status may affect a court’s analysis of a potential mandate.

The second part of the report provides an overview of federal authority to mandate vaccination. It discusses one possible source of existing federal authority, Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA), and reviews the extent of Congress’s constitutional authority under the Constitution’s Spending and Commerce Clauses to potentially mandate vaccination.

Read the analysis at CRS

Covid-19 Vaccine Developed by U.S. Army Begins Human Testing

The U.S. Army will start testing among adult volunteers an Army-developed Covid-19 vaccine that researchers say may protect against a variety of coronavirus variants. Army doctors plan to start testing on Tuesday the protein-based shot in as many as 72 adults ages 18 to 55 at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md., the institute said. The team will test whether the vaccine safely induces the desired immune response in study subjects.

Initial results of the study could become available by midsummer. If the data are positive, the Army likely would try to join with a drug company to further test and develop the vaccine, said Kayvon Modjarrad, director of the institute’s emerging infectious-disease branch.

Read more at the WSJ

The Interplay of  PPP and ERC With the R&D Tax Credit

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA), contains a number of provisions to assist businesses and individuals that have suffered economically from the coronavirus pandemic. Included in the CAA are beneficial provisions for businesses that obtained or qualify to obtain a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and employers that qualify for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). The CAA also addresses the interplay for businesses that intend to claim both the ERC and the research and development (R&D) tax credit. Specifically, the CAA:

  • Confirms that business expenses (that normally would be deductible for federal income tax purposes) paid out of forgiven PPP loans may be deducted for federal income tax purposes, thus rejecting the position previously taken by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that expenses paid with forgiven PPP loan proceeds are not deductible for income tax purposes.
  • Clarifies that wages taken into account in determining a taxpayer’s 2021 ERC may not be considered in determining the R&D tax credit. Taxpayers, therefore, may deduct and take an R&D tax credit for expenses that otherwise qualify as qualified research expenses (QREs).

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