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Italian election pledges: Pizza or pazza?

first_img600,000 migrants have reached Italy across the Mediterranean over the past four years | Federico Scoppa/AFP via Getty ImagesThe 5Stars want to increase the number of police and strengthen checkpoints. They also call for immediate repatriation of illegal immigrants — but that’s not possible without striking repatriation deals with countries of origin. They’ve promised 10,000 new jobs to speed up the work of local authorities that examine asylum requests, which migration specialists agree would be very helpful. Indecisive. 😵EuropeThe PD wants a eurozone economy minister, the introduction of joint eurobonds to finance the single currency bloc and the direct election of the European Commission president. Yet at the same time the party wants to lower Italy’s debt pile from 132 percent of gross domestic product — the highest in Europe after Greece — to 100 percent over a 10-year period. Overambitious. 😵Berlusconi’s Forza Italia has a broad pro-EU stance, while the League remains firmly Euroskeptic. According to the latter’s manifesto, Italy should leave the European Union unless it changes its fiscal rules. “We want to remain in the EU only if we can renegotiate all the treaties which limit our full and legitimate sovereignty, in practical terms returning to the European Economic Union which preceded the Maastricht Treaty,” the League’s program says. So the message is: Let’s turn the clock back to 1991. 😵😵The Italian parties are all over the map on the EU | Ettore Ferrari/EPAThe 5Stars promise higher investments financed by higher deficit (EU partners won’t be happy with that), while committing to reduce Italy’s massive debt by 40 percentage points over 10 years. Someone should tell them that those two pledges pull in opposite directions. Confused. 😵ConclusionItalians deserve more pizza. Also On POLITICO Italians vote as anger is on the rise By Jacopo Barigazzi Italy most adrift from EU, study finds By Janosch Delcker Europe at large Italy can’t get no respect By Paul Taylor All the main parties have now unveiled their manifestos and we’ve been through them to find the most reasonable ideas and the craziest ones. As a guide, we’ll use one or more slices of pizza 🍕(because who doesn’t love pizza?) for the credible promises and a pazza (that’s “crazy” in Italian) face 😵 for the most unbelievable ones.EconomyThe PD pledges to reduce corporate income tax for both small and large companies from 24 percent to 22 percent, one of the lowest levels in Europe. It also wants to give independent workers a tax deduction of €80 a month. While no cost has been given for the first measure, the second one would work out at around €1 billion. Sounds reasonable. 🍕🍕The income tax reform proposed by Luigi Di Maio’s 5Stars would cost, they say, around €13 billion | Ettore Ferrari/EPAThe center right wants a flat tax of between 15 percent (Northern League) and 23 percent (Berlusconi’s Forza Italia), with those on the lowest incomes not paying any tax at all. Berlusconi, the king of electoral promises, has also pledged to abolish housing tax, inheritance tax and road tax. Thanks to his new-found role as a champion of animal rights, Berlusconi promised to cut taxes on pet food and provide a free visit to the vet every 15 days (although that’s a Forza Italia promise, not a coalition one). All doable? The flat tax alone would cost around €80 billion, economists say, with the entire tax package needing around €130 billion. That’s not happening. 😵😵The 5Stars want those who earn less than €10,000 to be exempt from paying tax, a reduction in the rate of income tax and a “drastic” cut of a regional tax paid by companies. The income tax reform would cost around €13 billion, the 5Stars say, although economists warn the figure would be closer to €20 billion. Expensive, but not too utopian. 🍕 LaborThe PD wants a minimum wage, to cut social security contributions on wages from 33 to 29 percent, and to introduce open-ended contracts that are more convenient than short-term ones. Too dreamy. 😵For the right, the League has campaigned for the removal of the Jobs Act introduced by the Renzi government, which makes both firing and hiring easier. The center-right’s combined electoral program has a universal target of full youth employment, which is rather stating the obvious. 😵😵 The 5Stars want a “Smart Nation” and lots of jobs created through investments in new technology. Far too vague. 😵Family and welfareThe PD would give families €400 a month per child for three years to help with child care costs, and tax deductions of €240 per child until they turn 18. In addition, it wants to set the minimum pension at €750 a month, up from around €500 at present. Economists say the family plan would simplify the system, but it could cost up to €33 billion a year. That wins a🍕 The center right plans subsidies for families proportional to the number of children. Forza Italia is promising to hike the minimum pension to €1,000 a month. But the League managed to include in the common electoral program the immediate removal of a 2011 pension reform (which increased the retirement age), replacing it “with a new welfare reform [that is] socially and economically sustainable.” According to experts’ calculations, abolishing the so-called Fornero law would cost around €140 billion. Definitely unsustainable. 😵😵😵The 5Stars want a so-called citizens’ income for all, which would give Italians below the poverty line as much as €780 a month. To get that cash, you must actively seek work (reject three job offers and the money’s withdrawn). The plan would cost €17 billion a year, the 5Stars say, funded in part by spending cuts as well as tax hikes on banks, insurance companies and the gambling industry. But economists disagree, predicting costs for the public coffers of about €29 billion. If you add in a pledge to raise the minimum pension to at least €780 a month, it gets a 😵😵Immigration and securityThe PD wants a reduction in migrant flows to Italy through bilateral agreements with the countries of origin. It also wants to a halt to EU funding for countries like Hungary and Poland that have refused to take in any of the 600,000 migrants who have reached Italy through the Mediterranean over the past four years. However, Italy doesn’t get to decide EU policy on its own. Worth another try. 🍕The center right is united in its call for a tougher stance on migration, but Salvini has been its undisputed promoter. Forza Italia and the League want to reintroduce border controls; block arrivals and repatriate all migrants who have no right to stay in Italy; and impose stricter criteria on granting migrants humanitarian protection. At the same time, the common program invokes a “Marshall Plan” for Africa to support local development. Seems contradictory. 😵center_img ROME — Italian politics has long been home of the ludicrous — and this election campaign is no different.Ahead of the ballot on March 4, Italians have been told that 600,000 refugees will be deported and that brothels should be reopened and taxed (amazingly, only one of those claims was made by Silvio Berlusconi).It’s likely to be a close-run election. Polls suggest the center-left Democratic Party (PD) headed by Matteo Renzi; the center-right coalition led by Berlusconi (who is often at odds with the Northern League’s Matteo Salvini, despite the two sharing a political platform); and the 5Star Movement headed by Luigi Di Maio (founder Beppe Grillo’s distanced himself from the group) will share the vote, with none of them able to form a stable government.last_img read more

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Vermont and Upstate NY ACOs consolidate leadership under Todd Moore

first_imgVermont Business Magazine The Adirondacks ACO and OneCare Vermont ACO have formed a stronger working relationship between their accountable care organizations, which are the two largest ACOs in the Vermont and northern New York regions. The approach includes common CEO leadership and sets course for shared services and infrastructure to efficiently meet their missions. This model is not a merger and each ACO retains its own corporate identity, contracts, and governance. OneCare is motivated by getting a lump sum of funding. By reducing treatment costs (largely by reducing duplication of services) and increasing outcomes, member providers make more money; if they do not, they bear the financial burden of any cost overruns.The Boards of both OneCare and Adirondacks ACO endorsed the model and the appointment of Todd Moore as CEO of both organizations in their September 2017 meetings.  Kevin Stone, Chair of the OneCare Vermont Board said, “Under Todd’s leadership, OneCare has built a very strong management team and I am confident that with Todd’s ongoing direction, our collective administrative performance will remain strong. Most importantly, this aligned approach with the Adirondacks ACO will provide us with an opportunity to share knowledge and learn best practices to better serve our communities and the patients we collectively serve. This now sets the stage to realize economies of scale in our administrative infrastructure for ongoing sustainability.”Todd Moore, CEO of OneCare, will work with the Adirondacks ACO Board, chaired by John Rugge, M.D., founder and Executive Chairman of Hudson Headwaters Health Network (HHHN), which operates Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) across the northern New York region. Dr. Rugge said, “We look forward to working with Todd and the OneCare team and believe this will provide positive benefits for patients in New York.”Stephens Mundy, CEO and President of the University of Vermont Health Network’s Adirondack Region and Adirondacks ACO Board member said, “Northern New York and Vermont have striking similarities in both need and opportunity for population health management and value-based incentives for providers. The assumption of downside risk even at a limited level makes this the perfect time to align our provider and patient-focused efforts which are shown to work in regions like ours.”  The Adirondacks ACO and OneCare have had a strong history of collaboration since the Adirondacks ACO was founded in 2014. Over the past three and a half years, the two ACOs have made aligned selections on tools for data and analytics, with OneCare providing contracted data management services to the Adirondacks ACO. The ACOs have also built strong peer-to-peer relationships which include the sharing of clinical best practices and quality measurement and improvement tools. Now with a common senior leadership approach, there is opportunity to gain administrative efficiencies and develop a more coordinated system of health across a wide region.OneCare is currently piloting the Vermont Medicaid Next Generation program which involves significant financial and quality accountability and in 2018 will participate in the Medicare Next Generation program. OneCare is also in substantive discussion on a risk-based commercial program with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont. The Adirondacks ACO is currently enrolled in the Medicare Shared Savings Program and has recently added a number of commercial and New York Medicaid contracts to administer a multi-payer medical home program.  This provides added funds to support primary care and introduces ACO-wide risk of approximately 1% on total cost of care. Dr. Toby Sadkin, family physician, Chair of Primary Care Health Partners and OneCare Board member, lauded the partnership.  Dr. Sadkin said, “We are particularly excited about the opportunities this partnership creates to realize greater operational efficiencies in our community provider health practices.  As a small community primary care practice, we know firsthand how important it is for all of us along the continuum of care – from hospitals to home health to primary care – to work together to improve the quality of care for the people of Vermont and New York.”Moore assumed the role of CEO of Adirondacks ACO on October 1, 2017 and will be working with both ACOs on 2018 budgets through the fall.About Adirondacks ACOAdirondacks ACO is a physician-hospital partnership working with Medicare, NYS Medicaid and Commercial Insurance Programs across northern New York. This approach seeks to change the practice of healthcare delivery across the region, resulting in decreased utilization, increased efficiencies and enhanced quality of care for our residents.  The Adirondacks ACO includes an extensive provider network of more than 450 participating primary and specialty clinicians with five partner hospitals who work to coordinate health care for about 26,000 Medicare beneficiaries; 80,000 commercially insured beneficiaries and 25,000 managed Medicaid beneficiaries in Clinton, Franklin, Essex, Hamilton, Warren, Washington and Northern Saratoga County in New York.About OneCare Vermont ACOOneCare Vermont is a state-wide Accountable Care Organization (ACO) working with Medicare, Vermont Medicaid and the Commercial Exchange Programs to improve the health of Vermonters. OneCare Vermont comprises an extensive network of providers, including hospitals in Vermont and New Hampshire, hundreds of primary and specialty care physicians and advance practice providers, federally qualified health centers, and several rural health clinics. OneCare coordinates the health care for more than 100,000 combined Medicare, Medicaid and Commercial Exchange Vermont members.Source: OneCare 10.5.2017last_img read more

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EH: Arson Charged In December Clubhouse Fire

first_imgThe East Hampton man who claimed on New Year’s Eve to have started the fire last December that badly damaged the office area at The Clubhouse, a bar and restaurant on Daniels Hole Road, was finally charged with that crime after being taken into custody on an unrelated matter, the East Hampton Town police announced Saturday. The Clubhouse is part of the East Hampton Indoor Tennis complex, and is owned by Scott Rubenstein.Scott McKallip, 56, was initially arrested Saturday, April 27, on a petty larceny charge. Police said they had received a complaint from the manager of the IGA on North Main Street that McKallip had shoplifted several items from the store, including two Hershey’s chocolate milkshakes, two pints of Tropicana orange juice, and a container of Crush soda. The total value of the allegedly stolen property was $15.84.Soon after the December 22 fire, East Hampton Town Police, working with the Suffolk County Arson Squad, classified it as arson.Detective Sgt. Dan Toia of the East Hampton Town Police said the detective squad had just wrapped up its investigation and was planning to charge McKallip with arson on April 29. Once he was taken into custody on the petty larceny charge, the decision was made to process him on the arson charge, as well, he said. The accusatory document on file at East Hampton Town Justice Court says that McKallip “did apply an open flame to an ignitable liquid on the east wall of the East Hampton Indoor Tennis office building, causing severe damage and charring.”McKallip, who has a history of arrests, mostly on minor crimes, was arrested three times in December 2018 alone, with all of those arrests seemingly related.First, he was charged with a misdemeanor, aggravated harassment, for allegedly sending nude selfies to a woman who works at The Clubhouse. An order of protection for the woman was issued out of East Hampton Town Justice Court. The day after the December 22 fire, he was arrested again, this time on misdemeanor charges of trespassing, and violating a court order of protection. Police said he drove onto The Clubhouse property in a 2005 Ford Explorer. The order of protection specifically prohibits his coming to the woman’s workplace.On December 31, he was charged with a felony violation of the court order, when he allegedly went into Fierro’s Pizza in East Hampton Village, opposite Stop & Shop, and began shouting. At that time, witnesses said McKallip “started ranting and raving, and said he had a lawsuit against the cops” and threatened the managers of The Clubhouse. Witnesses also told police McKallip had claimed to have started The Clubhouse fire.In addition to his multiple arrests in December, McKallip was pulled over at least five times by both East Hampton Town and Village police, and issued numerous moving violations, including three speeding tickets.After his first two arrests last December, bail was set at a nominal amount, and was posted. But, after the alleged incident at Fierro’s, and the resulting felony charge, bail was set at $5000. Unable to raise that amount, McKallip was held for five days before being released,Eventually, all three cases were moved to Veterans Court. McKallip is an ex-Marine, according to court documents.McKallip was arraigned on the arson and petty larceny charges in East Hampton Town Justice Court before Justice Lisa Rana on Sunday, April 28. McKallip was represented at his arraignment by Brian DeSesa of the Adam Miller Group.McKallip appeared disheveled, and subdued, saying almost nothing.When it came time to set bail, DeSesa questioned the strength of the case against McKallip, based on the paperwork given to the court by the police. The district attorney’s office had asked, when it contacted Rana, that bail be set at $50,000, which Justice Rana agreed to, after a dialogue with DeSesa.“There is no supporting affidavit, no admission,” DeSesa said about the papers presented by the police. He said the affidavit in the file from Rubenstein, which he signed January 3, was left blank when it came to monetary damage done by the fire, which should disqualify it as an accusatory document.The charging documents, DeSesa said after court, “contain no information that puts him at the time, place, or admitting anything to do with the crime, and the affidavit on damage says zero damage was done. Nothing provided to the court this morning for arraignment purposes leads one to believe, or shows in any way that he was there. We are arraigning him on one page that has three sentences, and nothing to support it.”Detective Toia, however, saw the matter quite differently. “The complaint itself is sufficient to start the process,” he said. If and when the district attorney’s office takes the matter to a grand jury, the full case will be presented, he added.Any future challenge to the case against McKallip will be pursued by Christian Killoran, a private attorney previously appointed to represent McKallip on all matters currently in Veterans [email protected] Sharelast_img read more

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‘Go to’ solicitor for dodgy property deals jailed for seven years

first_imgRoss McKayA conveyancing solicitor who fixed property deals for mortgage fraudsters has been jailed for seven years.Ross McKay, 39, was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court last week after being found guilty of three offences of money laundering.McKay provided conveyancing services to a criminal gang in order to launder money made from drug-dealing, tax evasion, and mortgage and property fraud, the court heard. Deposits were put down on houses where the true, illegal source of the funds was disguised from the lenders; mortgage applications used nominees instead of the names of the legitimate purchasers; and claims about income were wildly exaggerated to secure loans.McKay was responsible for more than 80 property transactions for various criminals, all of whom were subsequently convicted of offences including money laundering and fraud.Police said McKay, from Handforth in Cheshire, was the gang’s ‘go to’ solicitor as they knew he would carry out property transactions without asking questions about the nature of their business, the sources of the deposits or the connections between parties in the transactions.Senior financial investigator Adrian Ladkin, of Greater Manchester Police’s economic crime unit, said: ‘McKay was fully aware that the purpose of the transactions was to launder criminal proceeds and he was deliberately dishonest in facilitating them. As a solicitor, McKay was in a position of trust, but he spectacularly failed in his legal duties through his corrupt and unlawful actions.’McKay’s involvement was uncovered through Operation Isidor, an investigation run by the economic crime unit into the activities of criminal gang members.In sentencing, it has been reported that Judge Timothy Smith told McKay he was expected to act with the ‘utmost integrity and honesty’ in his role as a solicitor.‘In trial you portrayed yourself as being an average solicitor, one that helped to support your family but any outward show of professionalism was a charade,’ said the judge. ‘You allowed criminal property to be obtained and assisted these people in organised crime.’Last month, confiscation orders were obtained against defendants, including one who was ordered to pay £3.5m – the largest proceeds of crime case ever undertaken by Greater Manchester Police.McKay, admitted in 2004, is still listed on the roll as a non-practising solicitor. He will now be referred to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.last_img read more

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