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November 2021

News In Brief

November 2021

  • Get ready to pay sharply higher bills for heating this winter, along with seemingly everything else according to a report by KOMO News. With prices surging worldwide for heating oil, natural gas and other fuels, the U.S. government said Wednesday it expects households to see jumps of up to 54% for their heating bills compared to last winter. The sharpest increases are likely for homes that use propane, but others are also likely to see big increases. Homes that use natural gas, which make up nearly half of all U.S. households, may spend $746 this winter, 30% more than a year ago. Homes using heating oil could see a 43% increase, and those heated by electricity could see a more modest 6% increase. This winter is forecast to be colder across the country than last year. That means people will likely be burning even more fuel to keep warm, on top of paying more for each bit of it. The forecast from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is the latest reminder of the higher inflation ripping across the global economy. Earlier in the morning, the government released a separate report showing that prices were 5.4% higher for U.S. consumers in September than a year ago. That's the hottest inflation since 2008, as a reawakening economy and snarled supply chains push up prices for everything from cars to groceries. The biggest reason for this winter's higher heating bills is the recent surge in prices for energy commodities after they dropped to multi-year lows in 2020. Natural gas in the United States, for example, has climbed to its highest price since 2014 and is up roughly 90% over the last year. The wholesale price of heating oil, meanwhile, has more than doubled in the last 12 months.

  • The IRS is sending 1099-K forms to businesses that make transactions on cash applications that are $600 or more. Cash apps on phones like Venmo, Paypal, and Zelle will now tax businesses. The new rule under The American Rescue Plan Act is cracking down on owners who used cash apps to find a way around paying the IRS. This new rule is only for businesses. If you already use cash apps for personal purchases like splitting rent and utilities or the dinner bill - the rule will not affect your accounts.

  • With urban core counties experiencing population declines for the first time in a decade, in part due to COVID-19, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2021's Best Small Cities in America, as well as accompanying videos and expert commentary. To help Americans put down roots in places offering good quality of life and affordability, WalletHub compared more than 1,300 U.S. cities with populations between 25,000 and 100,000 across 43 key indicators of livability. They range from housing costs and school-system quality to restaurants per capita.

    Top 20 Small Cities in America

    1. Sammamish, WA

    11. Westfield, IN

    2. Carmel, IN

    12. Redmond, WA

    3. Brentwood, TN

    13. Brookfield, WI

    4. Lexington, MA

    14. Arlington, MA

    5. Reading, MA

    15. Princeton, NJ

    6. Zionsville, IN

    16. Newton, MA

    7. Portland, ME

    16. Needham, MA

    8. Milton, MA

    18. Burlington, MA

    9. Melrose, MA

    19. Leawood, KS

    10. Dublin, OH

    20. Southlake, TX


  • With June being National Safety Month and 375,000 Americans having died from COVID-19 in 2020, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2021's Safest States in America, as well as accompanying videos and expert commentary. In order to determine the most secure states, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 55 key metrics. The data set ranges from the percentage of residents who are fully vaccinated to assaults per capita and the unemployment rate.

  • Safety in Washington (1=Safest; 25=Avg.):
    10th - Percentage of Residents Age 12+ Who Are Fully Vaccinated
    16th - Murders & Non-Negligent Manslaughters per Capita
    14th - Assaults per Capita
    1st - Loss Amounts from Climate Disasters per Capita
    16th - Job Security
    3rd - Fatal Occupational Injuries per 100,000 Full-Time Workers
    10th - Fatalities per 100 Million Vehicle Miles of Travel
    27th - Sex Offenders per Capita
    18th - Share of Uninsured Population

    For the full report, please visit:
    https://wallethub.com/edu/safest-states-to-live-in/4566