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Walmart announces special bonus and early payment of Q1 bonuses totaling nearly $550 million for hourly associates

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From Walmart:

Walmart today announced plans to provide a special cash bonus for hourly associates for their hard work and dedication to serving customers in a time of an unprecedented national health crisis. The bonus is for all U.S. hourly associates in stores, clubs, supply chain and offices. The bonus will be $300 for full-time hourly associates and $150 for part-time hourly associates and will add up to more than $365 million. Every hourly associate employed by the company as of March 1 will qualify, and it will pay out on April 2.

In addition to that special bonus for hourly associates, the company will accelerate the next scheduled quarterly bonus for store, club and supply chain associates a month early. When it pays out in late April, it will help provide more cash in hand for associates sooner. The company will pay those bonuses as if the company achieved its first-quarter plan. At the regularly scheduled time for bonus payout in May, that amount may increase for associates based on performance. In no case will an eligible associate receive less than the first quarter plan bonus payment. The early payout will add up to $180 million.

Overall, it amounts to nearly $550 million going into associates’ pockets and the economy at this important time. Hourly Q4 bonuses were paid this week, meaning hourly associates will receive bonus payments on March 19, April 2, April 30 and May 28.

“Walmart associates have gone above and beyond the call of duty in serving our customers during these unprecedented times,” said Doug McMillon, President and CEO, Walmart. “We want to reward our associates for their hard work and recognize them for the work that is in front of us.”

Additional Hiring

Walmart has a steady workforce of full-time and part-time workers helping meet the everyday needs of its customers. As part of responding to the current environment, Walmart is also hiring 150,000 new associates through the end of May to work in stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers. These roles will be temporary at first, but many will convert to permanent roles over time. We’ve reached out to industry groups representing restaurants and hospitality to facilitate temporary roles that can be a bridge for their employees during this difficult time.

Walmart is also implementing a new process to dramatically expedite hiring for key roles, such as cashiers and stockers. What is usually a two-week application cycle will be reduced to a 24-hour process. Anyone interested in applying should do so at careers.walmart.com. This initiative is aimed at helping put Americans to work, while helping Walmart better serve customers during this time of increased demand.

“We know millions of Americans who are usually employed at this time are temporarily out of work, and at the same time we’re currently seeing strong demand in our stores,” said McMillon. “We’re looking for people who see Walmart as a chance to earn some extra money and perform a vital service to their community.”

Today’s steps are in addition to last week’s announcement of a new COVID-19 emergency leave policy that provides support to associates if they are impacted by the coronavirus in the following ways: (1) if they are uncomfortable coming to work right now and choose to stay home (2) if they are part of mandated quarantines or (3) if they have a confirmed case of the virus.

COVID-19

Vicksburg Warren School District reports eight new COVID-19 cases and 47 quarantined

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The Vicksburg Warren School District reports eight new COVID-19 cases in schools for the week of Nov. 9 through Nov. 13.

In addition, 47 individuals were newly quarantined due to possible exposure to the virus in the same time period.

The following schools were affected:

Beechwood Elementary School 

  • 2 quarantined – teachers/staff
  • 3 quarantined – students

River City Early College

  • 2 new positive cases – teachers/staff
  • 1 new positive case – student
  • 6 quarantined – students

Vicksburg High School

  • 1 new positive case – teacher/staff
  • 4 new positive cases – students
  • 5 quarantined – teachers/staff
  • 30 quarantined – students

Vicksburg Junior High School

  • 1 quarantined – teacher/staff
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Vicksburg has raised the new Mississippi flag

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(photo by David Day)

Tuesday afternoon, the city of Vicksburg raised the new Mississippi flag outside of city hall for the first time.

Voters in Mississippi overwhelmingly approved the new flag design during the Nov. 3 General Election. The previous flag, the last in the nation to carry Confederate symbolism, was retired through the action of the state Legislature in June.

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Governor releases budget recommendations for fiscal year 2022

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Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves in a news conference April 20. (Photo via video screen capture)

Monday, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced his fiscal year 2022 executive budget recommendations.

Among his recommendations, Reeves is touting eliminating personal income tax for Mississippians, which is part of a law passed in 2017. As of 2019, individual income tax brought in about a third of the state’s revenue, according to the Mississippi Department of Revenue.

The plan was proposed and passed by the Republican controlled state Legislature in 2017. Now, Reeves is focusing on what the elimination of the roughly $2.2 billion in state revenue would mean to individual tax payers. It would save a Mississippian making $40,000 about $1,850 the governor said in a news release. The phased rollout is expected to be finalized over 10 years, and the maximum tax savings would only be realized at the end of the plan.

As Lt. Governor, Reeves helped pass the Taxpayer Pay Raise Act that began the phase-out of the 3% income tax on the first $5,000 of income. FY 2022, which begins in the fall of next year, is the first year for the 3% income tax to be completely eliminated if all goes according to plan, and Reeves said this is the right time to begin a complete the phase-out of the income tax.

“Because this plan is a phased approach, we will be able to ensure adequate funding will be available for education, law enforcement, health care and transportation priorities,” Reeves said in the statement. “It will not be necessary for us to increase other taxes in order to make up for lost revenue from the elimination of the income tax.”

Republicans are banking on making up the lost revenue by reinvestment such as expanded corporate capital projects and increased production and purchase of goods and services. The tax cut phases would only proceed if the state sees proportional increases in its gross domestic product.

The budget summary also highlights

  • additional funding for the Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Academy,
  • protecting small businesses affected by COVID-19,
  • creating a “Patriotic Education Fund” to counter “indoctrination in far-left socialist teachings,”
  • supporting quality education by “limiting funding for school districts unwilling to provide the option” of in-person classes during the pandemic,
  • increasing workforce development,
  • funding state agencies such as the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Mississippi State Department of Health for their part in the COVID-19 response
  • funding the judiciary and
  • protecting the integrity of Medicaid through driving down taxpayer costs.

“I remain adamantly opposed to Medicaid expansion in Mississippi,” the governor wrote in his proposal.

Reeves is recommending $2 million to train and prepare teachers across the state in computer science courses to provide K-12 students with coding, cyber training, robotics and artificial intelligence skills. The governor is also recommending $3 million to fund coaches targeting math skills.

“We have seen the success of reading coaches as a tool to boost the early learning for our children. We need to accelerate recent successes in results for math – setting children up for success,” Reeves said.

The governor is also proposing $50 million in one-time funds to accelerate workforce growth. Those funds would be used to facilitate six specific goals as listed in the budget:

  1. Modernize and expand community college training programs,
  2. Provide scholarships or wage assistance to help low-income citizens get into training programs or apprenticeships,
  3. Develop the right industry certified credentials or programs in high-school,
  4. Grow Mississippi’s path of IT-based skills,
  5. Expand dual credit programs in high-schools, and
  6. Incentivize career technical courses in high-schools.

“I have always promised to be a good steward of the taxpayers’ dollars, and this budget reflects that commitment to each of you,” Reeves said.

Overall, Reeves’ proposal is $1.1 billion less than the nearly $7.3 billion budget for the current fiscal year. The savings are realized through essentially cutting programs funded through the $1.25 federal emergency COVID-19 relief bill known as the CARES Act. The proposal’s biggest cuts include taking $200 million from the general education funds for distance learning and broadband availability, $7.5 million from higher education, $96 million from MSDH’s COVID-19 funds for hospitals, $13 million from the Department of Agriculture, $99.3 million from social welfare, $115 million from Military, Police and Veterans Affairs and $55 million from the Employment Security Fund, which helped fund the enormous uptick in unemployment benefits after “non-essential” businesses were shut down last spring.

Read the governor’s proposal (PDF).

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