COVID-19 News Round-up for September 22

Credit: AZ Big Media

Budget, Policy & Stimulus News 
Will Latest Stimulus Proposal Stop Housing Crisis? 
The $1.5B bipartisan stimulus proposal from the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus offers another round of $1,200 stimulus checks and other cash assistance for those in need as the COVID-19 recession wears on. But it’s unlikely the proposal would stop a potential wave of evictions and foreclosures next year if the economy doesn’t rapidly improve. (Source: Forbes) 
Prop 208 Wealth Tax Strongly Opposed 
Business groups across Arizona are opposing Proposition 208, saying the initiative, which seeks to tax certain earners to help fund education, would actually hurt small companies at a time when they are struggling during COVID-19 shutdowns. What many voters do not realize is that a large number of small businesses in Arizona file under the individual tax code, not as corporate filers. If approved, those companies could end up slammed with nearly double the tax rate that big corporations pay. (Source: Chamber Business News) 
Department of Labor Updates Paid Leave Regulations 
In response to recent litigation, thU.S. Department of Labor revised its regulations interpreting the emergency paid leave available to employees under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The updated regulations address four major components of the FFCRA’s paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions for those facing issues caused by COVID-19. (Source: Snell & Wilmer) 
Economic News 
Pandemic Impacting Senior Housing Investment 
The coronavirus has made its mark on sentiments among seniors housing investors. Exclusive results from the annual NREI / NIC seniors housing investor sentiment survey highlight near-term concerns about pressures on occupancies, expenses and rent growth, while long-term views are optimistic about future performance. (Source: National Real Estate Investor) 
Opening a Hotel in Pandemic 
In the past six months, the Valley’s hospitality industry has been turned on its side. Hotels and resorts are trying all sorts of tactics to attract people to stay at their properties while adding new measures to make sure guests are safe. But besides the hundreds of hotels and resorts already operating in the Valley before the onset of the coronavirus in the spring, dozens have since opened or were set to open in the next few months. (Source: Phoenix Business Journal) 
Valley Housing Surge May Hang Around 
The housing market in Arizona is gangbusters right now, but how long can the record-breaking sales go on? Real estate consultant Jim Belfiore said the surge could stick around into next year. The Valley has not seen such high activity in home closures for 15 years. In August 2015, the Phoenix metro area had 91 percent fewer buyers than July, Belfiore said at a recent virtual forum. (Source: Independent Newsmedia) 
Housing Crisis Hurts Landlords, Too 
In the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, advocates have welcomed efforts to protect those vulnerable to homelessness — but some experts are calling for more sustainable solutions. While temporary eviction protections issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides a reprieve for some, housing advocates have called on Congress to protect the landlords as well. Faith Schwartz, president of Housing Finance Strategies, and Lee Raagas, CEO of Skid Row Housing Trust, said CDC’s actions won’t solve the problem. (Source: Independent Newsmedia) 

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