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Black Americans Pay More For Homes Than Any Other Group: Study Finds

A new study from MIT has found that Black Americans pay more for homeownership than any other group.

Black Americans, HomeownershipJoe Raedle / Getty Images

The study, conducted by Edward Golding, executive director of the MIT Golub Center for Finance and Policy, reports that Black Americans pay more for mortgage interest, mortgage insurance, and property taxes than other homeowners.

The disparities are as follows: $743 per year in mortgage interest payments, $550 a year mortgage insurance premiums, and$390 per year in property taxes. All-in-all this accounts for a $67,320 loss in retirement savings for Black homeowners over 30 years.

“The small differences compounding over the life of the mortgage and during homeownership can add up,” writes Golding. “Even if it is a few hundred dollars a year here and there, it can amount to another year’s salary families would otherwise have.”

“While mortgage costs are determined by markets to some extent,” said Golding, “there is a great deal of public policy that influences these rates, especially as it impacts people of color. We can and should address these issues at a policy level and start now to eliminate the large wealth gap between Black and White homeowners that we created in part through our current mortgage system.”

Check out the paper for yourself here.

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Aviation contractors axed jobs as U.S. delayed aid, House panel finds

CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. aviation contractors laid off thousands of workers due to delays in payroll aid from the U.S. Treasury that was meant to protect jobs, an investigation by a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee found.

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), companies in the aviation sector were granted funds to cover six months of their payroll as the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a precipitous decline in air travel.

The legislation banned any job cuts through September, and requires the U.S. Department of the Treasury to begin distributing funds to eligible companies within 10 days of the law’s approval on March 27.

But an investigation by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis found that top contractors did not receive the money until months later, resulting in more than 16,500 layoffs and furloughs at 15 companies, more than 15% of the aviation contractor workforce.

“Had Treasury met the deadline set by Congress, many of these jobs would have been preserved,” the report said.

Treasury did not immediately comment.

Among the top seven contractors, Swissport waited 99 days before its payroll support agreement with Treasury was finalized, Gate Gourmet 78 days and Flying Food Fare 74 days, leading to nearly 12,000 layoffs and furloughs at those three companies alone.

The companies still received the full amount of federal aid based on their pre-pandemic workforce, even though they had laid off many of those workers, the report said.

Swissport, Gate Gourmet and Flying Food Fare did not immediately comment.

Aviation contractors were awarded $3 billion under the first CARES Act and could see those funds extended for another six months if Congress passes a second stimulus package.

The report recommends another round of aid but said layoffs should be prohibited until a company uses all of

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Ongoing Vigilance and Improvements Characterize the State of Cybersecurity in 2020, New CompTIA Report Finds

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., Oct. 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Organizations are building confidence that their cybersecurity practices are headed in the right direction, aided by advanced technologies, more detailed processes, comprehensive education and specialized skills, new research from CompTIA finds.

CompTIA is the voice of the world's information technology industry. (PRNewsFoto/CompTIA)

Eight in 10 organizations surveyed for CompTIA’s State of Cybersecurity 2020 report said their cybersecurity practices are improving.

At the same time, many companies acknowledge that there is still more to do to make their security posture even more robust. Growing concerns about the number, scale and variety of cyberattacks, privacy considerations, a greater reliance on data and regulatory compliance are among the issues that have the attention of business and IT leaders.

Two factors – one anticipated, the other unexpected – have contributed to the heightened awareness about the need for strong cybersecurity measures.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been the primary trigger for revisiting security,” said Seth Robinson, senior director for technology analysis at CompTIA. “The massive shift to remote work exposed vulnerabilities in workforce knowledge and connectivity, while phishing emails preyed on new health concerns.”

Robinson noted that the pandemic accelerated changes that were underway in many organizations that were undergoing the digital transformation of their business operations.

“This transformation elevated cybersecurity from an element within IT operations to an overarching business concern that demands executive-level attention,” he said. “It has become  a critical business function, on par with a company’s financial procedures.”

As a result, companies have a better understanding of what do about cybersecurity. Nine in 10 organizations said their cybersecurity processes have become more formal and more critical. Two examples are risk management, where companies assess their data and their systems to determine the level of security that each requires; and monitoring and measurement, where security efforts are continually tracked and new metrics are

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Study finds Lake Erie, Detroit River improvements but cites threats

A lot in the water and shoreline of the Detroit River and western Lake Erie is much more environmentally sound than a generation or two ago, but new threats to the ecosystem are approaching tipping points, according to a 500-page, two-year study to be released Tuesday by an array of concerned officials and private citizens from the United States and Canada.

“Checkup: Assessing Ecosystem Health of the Detroit River and Western Lake Erie,” the 11th annual “State of the Strait” report, calls for new attention and remedial action to secure a healthful future.

“We’ve seen some really amazing ecological revivals of the Detroit River,” said John Hartig, a conservationist who helped prepare the international report, sponsored by companies, nonprofit groups, philanthropy and other sources.

“There were no bald eagles, 30 years ago, peregrine falcons, osprey, lake sturgeon or lake white fish spawning in the Detroit River. Mayflies weren’t around, and beaver weren’t here.

“But they are all back,” said Hartig, a visiting scholar at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research and a member of the board of directors of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.

“Lake Erie is the same way. The bad news is we have some major problems, a series of problems, eight of which are documented in the report,” he said.

Climate change, pollution and nutrient-rich runoff from the land, algae blooms, toxic contamination, invasive species, habitat loss and degradation, urban sprawl and environmental justice are all pressing issues, according to the

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IG Review finds management practices, not fraud, at root of conflict

By William Kelly, Daily News Staff Writer
 
| Palm Beach Daily News

A Palm Beach County Inspector General’s Office investigation found no evidence that a contractor fraudulently billed the town for the installation and maintenance of crime surveillance cameras. 

The town asked the office in August 2019 to investigate its concerns that it paid Johnson Controls Inc. for work that was not completed. 

The inspector general’s office, in its Sept. 22 report, concluded that the town’s project management practices were largely responsible for confusion over billing issues.

“Although we did not find clear evidence of fraud, it does appear that the parties disagree on their interpretation and understanding of the terms of their agreement related to performance and billing,” the report states.

 But the IG’s office said, the investigation revealed “issues that we believe should be addressed: one concerns the town’s project management procedures, and the other concerns the town and JCI’s contract procedures in general.”

The town hired JCI in 2012 and agreed to a payment schedule for it to install and maintain a security camera and surveillance system in different areas of town. Johnson Controls was permitted to submit bills for its progress on multiple work sites.

Finance Director Jane Le Clainche said Friday that the town paid Johnson Controls more than $2.1 million since 2013 for the infrastructure and annual maintenance and repairs. 

The work still wasn’t complete when the town terminated its relationship with the company more than a year ago, Town Manager Kirk Blouin said.

Blouin said the camera surveillance system is a large, technologically sophisticated infrastructure. The work was complicated, and the installation and maintenance has involved many different people, working for Johnson Controls and the town, over the last decade, he said.

“There was a lack of progress,” said Blouin, former public safety

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