Congress Picks Up the Bill

This article was originally posted on ChangeRoots.com 

Congress passes relief bill 

By now, you’ve heard about the coronavirus (COVID-19) that is spreading across the globe. As of March 18, 2020, all 50 states are reporting cases of the virus. The total count in the US has reached 5,881 confirmed cases and 107 deaths (source NYTimes). 

With city-wide shutdowns, people are spending and earning less, businesses are suffering and it looks like we’re headed towards an economic recession. 

Congress just passed the Coronavirus Relief Bill to support citizens and the economy with overwhelming bipartisan support on March 18, 2020. President Trump signed it that night.

What’s included in the bill?  

  • Pays for coronavirus testing 
  • Requires paid sick leave for those affected
  • Helps businesses pay for sick leave
  • Strengthens unemployment insurance benefits for those fired or have hours reduced
  • Helps low-income families afford food

What’s next? 

The bill passed Congress and has been signed into law by President Trump. Trump requested a separate and huuuuuge (like $1 trillion) stimulus package and things like immediate relief in the form of $1,000 checks for all citizens (s/o to Andrew Yang) and bailouts for industries impacted like airlines. That’s what’s coming in part 3. 

Recap:

  • Part 1: $8.3 billion to fund spurring coronavirus vaccine research and development (passed March 6)
  • Part 2: $100 billion largely focused on paid sick leave and unemployment benefits for workers and families (passed March 18)
  • Part 3: $750 billion – $1 trillion to prevent a recession (being drafted). This would be larger than the $700 billion economic relief bill passed during the 2008 recession. 

What’s the Post-partisan take? 

It’s a scary and trying time as information and the world around us seem to change daily. And while we’re in a state of uncertainty, we’re also looking for glimmers of hope. Congress passing a bill with such overwhelming bipartisan support? A huge glimmer. President Trump demanding relief by putting cash in the hands of struggling Americans, with Democrats supporting the demand? Triple huge glimmer. 

We’re seeing small examples of what we can happen when we put down political loyalty and pick up protecting the wellbeing of all Americans first. Now imagine if this was how we operated all the time. That’s the post-partisan world we’re fighting to create. 

What Does the Coronavirus Bill Mean for Me? 

If you get sick…

  • The government will pay for the test confirming you’re sick. 
  • Your health insurance (or lack of) determines how much the rest of your care cost. 
  • The government will pay your company to pay you for sick leave – if you work at a company between 50 and 500 people
  • If you are told to quarantine the government will cover part of your loss of income

If you get laid off because of coronavirus…

If you are an hourly worker and your hours get cut…

You may become eligible for food stamps

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How To Make Your Business More Economically Friendly

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Everyone is looking for new ways to make their company more eco-friendly that will also save you money in the long run along with controlling the amount of pollution you create daily. Even though many items seem great for boosting your projects they often aren’t great for the environment, so ensuring that you do some research before making a big purchase can contribute to saving the plant one bit at a time. 

Industrial air compressor 

Having an air compressor like at https://cbeuptime.com/compressor-central/ is the glue to the day to day running of your business. They can save you a lot of money in the long run as well as helping you to control your pollution. Large-scale air is released when electricity is produced so switching up your air compressor will be more economical. There are multiple air compressors that can help every sort of business. 

Cut down on your existing problems

We forget to assess how our daily routines can affect the environment, like disposing of any ink and toners from any printing safely using the facilities that are provided in the supermarket, stationery shops, and other places that can recycle them into new items. You can hire paper recycling stations if your business still uses paperwork that can be shredded and reused, or if your company can, then transferring your database and paperwork on to computers can save a lot of printing and help protect our forests. 

Lights and appliances

Switching light bulbs from the regular type to an energy-saving option can make a massive difference which can be done instantly and will save you money too. Every time you leave a room or when your business is closed for the day, briefing your staff members to turn off any lights and to switch any appliances off will leave you noticing that you are saving a lot of money. Don’t forget that items left on standby still use electricity. 

Green cleaning products

The chemicals that are in some cleaning products can be harmful to the environment and your health so keeping an eye out for non-toxic products will reduce this. You will also find that it will protect your staff members’ skin if it becomes in contact with them. Looking for moisturizers that are built into your hand washes can prevent your hands from cracking or getting dry or providing hand cream for your staff members to use throughout the day.

Plant trees or shrubs

Trees and shrubs can play a big part in our ecosystem. You could maybe create a team-building exercise to plant some trees to learn about how they can act as a filter for pollution. It can make the surroundings of your building look aesthetically pleasing and especially with trees you’ll find that they don’t need much maintenance to look after them.

Using these five ways to make your business eco-friendly will save you money whilst protecting the environment. It’s also very appealing to customers when you look to change what you do to save the planet.

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Three Clucking Good Reasons To Go Organic On Your Farm

Farming and agriculture are two of the oldest industries in the world. Our ancestors likely kept at least a few chickens, and so did their ancestors before them. In short; getting stuck into the ag-business means following in a long line of your forefathers. But, there’s a pretty high chance that the industry has changed since they were hoeing their fields and supporting their families.

Now, a focus on healthier food sources and what goes into them is forever driving farmers to consider their practices. This, alongside the vegan revolution, has left countless farmers struggling to pull the profits they once enjoyed. And, many are finding that farming alternatives like organic options are the best way to weather that storm.

Essentially, organic farming involves removing the chemicals from your processes. Instead, organic farms rely on natural pesticides and even antibiotic growth promoter (AGP) alternatives when it comes to supplementing livestock feed, etc. These may seem like pretty extreme steps away from what you know, but here are three clucking good reasons why this organic shift could be worth your while.

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# 1 – Potential for profit increases

Everyone knows that organic produce costs more, and this is perhaps the main reason to get started here. While standard farming practices have long been falling out of favor and losing money, the opposite can be seen from organic trends. In fact, produce from farms certified by bodies like USDA can typically sell for around 60% of average retail prices. This is particularly the case if you focus on farm shops, local markets, etc. Even better, you should find that consumers are more than happy to pay the difference if they can feel good about the purchase afterwards.

# 2 – An eco-focus

In the current climate, consumers are forever favoring greener companies with clear eco-focuses. And guess what? Going organic right now proves precisely that. After all, pesticides and harmful food additions are doing significant damage to water supplies, soil quality, and more. None of these is going to do you any good, and could even see consumers turning away. By comparison, that organic label proves you use only natural processes, meaning not only that your food is healthier to consume, but also that the ecological damage you cause to produce it is minimal or next to none.

# 3 – Land preservation

Along roughly the same lines, it’s worth noting that a shift to organic practices is far better for preserving your land in the long-run. Your resources (soil, water, etc.) will undeniably stretch further and reap better growing grounds than they would with the addition of nasty chemicals. As such, a farm that goes organic now is far more likely to stand the test of time than one that continues to practice harmful agricultural habits.

As if these benefits weren’t enough, making the switch to organic is often easier than you realize. All you need to do is think about alternative farming practices and habits that could make it possible.

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More Space, More Value: Home Additions that Increase Property Value

Thinking about staying or moving to another home in a few years? Whatever it may be, certain home additions are worthwhile undertakings, especially when they significantly increase the price of your home.

Patios and Carports

Many urban homes in Brisbane have carports, patios or sometimes both. These house extensions effectively expand a house without requiring extensive construction. A patio can increase your home value by 10 to 20 per cent, and a carport is an attractive addition for families with more than one vehicle. If you’re not planning to sell your home, you can still make use of an extended patio. It extends your living area while keeping the sun at bay and keeping your house cooler. The larger space is perfect for gatherings and barbecues, afternoon tea time or evening parties. A carport will protect your vehicle from the sun, maintaining its paint job and allowing you to drive off without suffering from suffocating heat during summer months.

Conservatories and Greenhouses

A garden won’t affect your house’s valuation, but a well-made conservatory or greenhouse would. A conservatory or a separate greenhouse will give your house a more refined look. You can make full use of a greenhouse even if you have no plans to sell your house. Australia is particularly hot, so make sure you choose your crops properly. Vegetables like tomatoes, cabbage, spinach and peppers are popular crop choices. If flowers are more to your liking, geraniums, petunias, chrysanthemums or orchids can be good options. You can even opt for specialty plants like cacti and other succulents or Venus flytraps and other carnivorous plants. Modern greenhouses can be constructed using polycarbonate sheets instead of glass, so you don’t have to worry about damage or accidents – especially if you have kids or pets in the house.

The Usual Backyard Cabin

Granny flats are everywhere in Australia. An extra living structure in your property will certainly raise its price, but you will probably choose to stay if you opt for a backyard cabin. While popularly used to provide a living space for older relatives, granny flats can have multiple uses. It can serve as an office if you work from home or run a business; you can even list it as a coworking space online. Use it as a workshop for wood-crafting or hobby space for the whole family. Keeping the mess outside of the house can make your family a lot happier and saner. If you don’t want to make a lot of changes, just rent it out as an Airbnb accommodation or perhaps a short-term lease. A backyard cabin is easy to maintain, and contractors can easily reconfigure it if your elderly parents finally decide to move in.

House additions cost money, but they make your house more spacious and comfortable or give it more character. The right additions pay for themselves by either raising your quality of life or raising your house’s valuation if you plan on selling in the future. So choose a project that best suits your needs.

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What Does A Turbocharged Car Deal Look Like?

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Owning a car is a necessary yet expensive hazard of being a grown-up. Whether you want to get to and from work as quickly as possible or need space to load the kids, it’s hard to manage without a vehicle. So, finding the best possible deal is a must as the running costs will add up in the long run. Plus, that’s not to mention the breakdown expenses, as well as the fluctuating petrol and tax rates. Yes, you can shop around for an affordable insurance policy once you own a car, but first, it’s about milking the dealer for every penny.

To help you, here are the factors that constitute a turbocharged deal.

High Trade-In Value

The majority of motorists already have a car to use as leverage during the negotiations. And, you should trade-in your vehicle to reduce the upfront price of the car that you want to buy. However, getting the full amount isn’t as simple as asking a dealership for a quote. If they don’t give you a low figure, they’ll add the expenses elsewhere to make back the money. Therefore, it’s essential to watch out for excessive dealer fees or a trumped-up warranty that’s unnecessary. A fantastic tip is to sell your car outright to avoid dealers and their sneaky tricks.

Profit Margin Quotes

Almost every estimate that a buyer gets is based on the listing price that the seller sets. However, a better option is to negotiate a discount based on retail price, which is what the dealer paid for the vehicle. Initially, the reduction might not seem as high if what they paid is more than the listing price. But, keep in mind that the discount applies to any car that is the same make or model, or from the same manufacturer. If the car you want doesn’t have as many “high-end” features, the RP will be lower and the discount will lead to bigger savings.

Practical Perks

Sellers have all kinds of perks that they like to throw in to show that they are going the extra mile. Of course, some of them aren’t applicable to you, and that means you pay more because you don’t get your money’s worth. For example, a longer warranty is more useful than roadside assistance if you already have it with your insurer or bank. A superior protection plan for car owners is about paying less for maintenance and repairs. Although it sounds obvious, motorists will accept add-ons as goodwill gestures regardless. Now, you know that ineligible perks are expensive.

Car Comparisons

You have a vehicle in mind and don’t want to buy another one. Still, it’s worth using another, similar car as leverage. How? By taking elements of the vehicle at a competing lot and using it to lower the price. Does the model you want have more miles on the clock? If so, let the seller know that you’re leaning towards purchasing the alternative listing as the engine is tighter. This should encourage them to reduce the price, even though you had no intention of going with another model.

Do you think you can craft an incredible deal now you know the tricks of the trade?

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5 Things to Remember When Purchasing Home Building Material

Pre-constructed homes are the dream houses of countless people. Are you thinking of buying your own home and wondering if building your own home will be worth it? Building your own house will not only save you some money but also has numerous advantages for you to consider. One advantage is that you get the chance to modify everything to your precise needs and never have to remodel it again. Now, before you order your building materials, there are several things you should put into deliberation.

Image via Adobe Stock, by New Africa

Climate

Where are you going to have the house built? Some building materials are better matched for specific zones, whereas others are not. The best way is to use a blend of materials depending on the ecological characteristics of the area where you want to build your new home. Keep in mind that the climatic conditions might significantly influence your choice with respect to the preferred building materials. Study the climate of your region and choose a suitable building material.

Purpose

The building materials you choose will also depend on your motive. Are you going to rent out the house? Then consider more robust and wear resilient materials, for instance, concrete or brick. If you are building a vacation home for your family, then consider choosing lighter and more subtle building materials like wood.

Purchase Cost

You should add more capital to your initial cost when purchasing materials. Make sure you also consider the installation expenses and the time you’ll need to replace a building material. A better quality of building material can be expensive, but it is worth it. A cheaper building material should be replaced after a fewl years. Choose your construction materials according to the quality. Additionally, make sure to ask the seller of the lifespan of the building materials as well as other characteristics of the building materials.

Location

The location of the house is very critical. The type of building materials you choose will depend on the site where you want to build your home. If the location is on a vertical wedge, and you will be required to cut into the ground, use bricks or any other building material with a significant absorbent feature. On the other hand, if the site is level and tough to get to, use lighter materials.

Time

What is the timeline you have for deciding on your renovations as well as materials? Additionally, how much time do you have scheduled for the construction to be complete? If you are in a hurry, materials with a long lead time are not suggested for you; instead, choose manufactured ones. On the contrary, if time is not of significance to you, the choice of building materials is broader. Building a home from the ground should be a choice for people who are not in a hurry since many factors can delay the building, including weather conditions at the building site. Therefore, keep your timeline into consideration when selecting building materials.

At this point, you now know that the choice of building materials will be highly dependent on various factors. Therefore, be careful and choose the right materials to build the house of your dreams. Make sure that you are familiar with the factors that affect your choice of building materials. 

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Get a Lower Rate on Your Car Insurance

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Car insurance is a cost all drivers have to fork out for because unfortunately, it is necessary to protect yourselves and your car. It can be difficult for new drivers and others in high-risk categories to get a good rate on your premium. Here are some simple tips to help you reduce your car insurance as much as possible. 

Shop around

There are plenty of price comparison sites which can help you compare different offers and find the best one for you. Take your time and do your research.

Don’t opt for auto-renewal

Car insurance companies don’t tend to reward loyalty for some reason so you’ll never get a better offer than your first one. They tend to make better deals to lure new customers but you could even end up paying more your second year so it’s a better idea just to change company. Give yourself some flexibility and freedom. 

Add an experienced driver

If you’re a new driver or in a high-risk category due to your age or inexperience, try adding a more responsible driver to your premium. This will help to reduce your rate as they will be considered a safer and more reliable option. Don’t commit “fronting” however and take out the insurance primarily in their name. This is fraud and will punishable by law. Once you have a blip on your car insurance it’ll be very difficult to get a good deal, if any again. 

Tweak your job title

This is a technique used to make you sound like you have more responsibility in your job, without actually lying of course. Some titles carry more weight, whether this is fair or not, and appear more impressive. Compare, “teacher” with “guitar teacher”, for example, or “construction worker” and “builder”. You can change the name without lying about what you do, as it’s very important to be honest about everything on your car insurance application. There are many interesting ways in how your job title can affect your car insurance, in fact, certain jobs are considered higher risk than others and won’t be offered a lower rate. 

Go used

Opting for a used car can reduce your car insurance premium. New cars face a dramatic depreciation as soon as they leave the dealership. They rapidly decrease in value in the first few years. Used cars will have already been through this depreciation process, so you won’t have to pay “gap” insurance which is on the calculated difference between the original price and the depreciated value. 

Avoid accidents
A sure-fire way to get a good deal on your car insurance is by becoming a safer driver. Don’t speed or slam on the brakes, keep that road rage under wraps and stay in control. If the unfortunate does happen to be sure to consult experts in auto body repair such Alan Byer Collision. Have regular checks on your car and keep up your maintenance. This will also save you money on costly repairs in the future.

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