In 2019, a total of 19 bills signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will become law in 2020. There are 2 more pieces of legislation signed by former Gov. Rick Snyder in 2018, that will also have effective dates in 2020. Medicaid work requirements, minimum wage increases, the legalization of online gaming and sports betting, and auto insurance reform are some of the notable laws taking effect this year.
July 1, 2020 will see the state’s new auto insurance law taking effect that will significantly overhaul Michigan’s auto no-fault insurance policy. According to Moss & Colella, the Michigan Person Injury Lawyer team, there will be a major change in the personal injury protection coverage as it will allow the residents to change their level of personal injury protection, or PIP, coverage or opt-out all together if they’re senior citizens or have existing health insurance that covers auto-related injuries. Then there are other four levels of coverage available that give unlimited coverage, $500,000, $250,000 and a minimum $50,000 option for some Medicaid recipients. The amount of auto insurance savings will completely depend on the level of coverage drivers will choose to go with.
January 1st saw the state’s minimum wage jump from 20 cents to $9.65 while the tipped wage increased to $3.67. In 2018 GOP lawmakers had adopted and amended a citizen-led minimum wage ballot proposal which will affect the increase in the minimum wage to $12.05 by 2030. Also on the same date the new Medicaid work requirements kicked in for most able-bodied adults receiving healthcare benefits through the state’s Healthy Michigan Program.
Thus the beneficiaries, between the ages of 19 and 61, are now required to report per month for at least 80 hours of workforce engagement, such as working or job training. Affected residents have received notices in the mail from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Rural America needs help with Affordable Housing
America has been facing the issue of affordable housing in major cities and fast-growing urban areas for so many years now, that we almost take it for granted. But what we did not see coming, as a nation, was the same problem sprouting in rural America. This is what is going on, right now, as people from all financial spectrums struggle to find a house that they can afford. Here is why and which solutions should be looked at.
Not enough Jobs, Education and Health Care Availability
What explains housing difficulties is the same as in all other economic sectors: The offer is not sufficient for the demand. And why is that, in rural America? The answer is simple: There are not enough jobs to be handed out in these parts. Also, the children lack sufficient education, and the people are not provided with good health care facilities. Therefore, you don’t find contractors that want to build more homes to invest in the future, in these regions, even though there are more people living there, every year.
Also, most of the houses that exist need to be renovated. They require new facade systems, in order to become more energy efficient. The people that live in these parts, barely make enough to make ends meet, and they have to pay higher energy bills, simply because they can’t afford new aluminium windows and doors, that would greatly reduce their costs. New sustainable materials need to be added outside their walls, to protect their home from high or low temperatures outside. But instead, they are simply fighting each other to find a house that they can live in, at an inflated price, and that won’t even provide them sufficient protection in the warmest and coolest months of the year.
Public Investment is required to start the Process
Money is at the core of the problem. To built more houses, or to renovate the ones that already exist in rural America, a large investment will need to be made. Since it is clear that private owners are scared to enter into this rebuilding of the land by themselves, the different levels of governments need to envision new help plans that will make all this possible. But it isn’t the only investment they must make.
Today, wages are not growing as fast as they were before. We find ourselves in uncertain times, thanks to the COVID-19 crisis and the current war going on in Ukraine. Having a larger part of the population to buy a house, is simply impossible in view of these issues. And yet, this is exactly what rural America needs. Therefore, young adults need to be helped, in some ways, in order to create a larger group of potential home buyers. This will help kick-start the market of housing in rural America, which hopefully will create a dynamic that will continue on, with wealthier individuals investing in construction, in these areas.
Affordable housing has become a necessity in rural America. Otherwise, small towns will continue to disappear. This is not a long-term solution for a growing America, that wants to lead by example.
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