Aquinas lecture analyzes atheism

first_imgFr. Robert Barron addressed atheism in his lecture on Tuesday evening as part of Saint Mary’s 14th annual St. Thomas Aquinas Symposium. Barron, a Notre Dame graduate and professor of systematic theology at Saint Mary’s of the Lake, titled his lecture, “Thomas Aquinas and Why Atheists are Right.” “New atheists have emerged as strident critics of religion. I have found that more often than not I agree with them, for the God they deny is one that I would deny as well,” he said. Barron’s address focused on the definition of truth and the perception of God in both believers and atheists alike. Barron said atheists and Catholics define God in different ways. Atheists focus on what God is not rather than what God is. However, religions are often stigmatized in modern society. Barron stressed the importance of a Catholic’s ability to address and debate religion in a public setting. Dr. Joe Incandela, the event’s organizer and Joyce McMahon Hank Aquinas Chair in Catholic Theology, said the message of a deep and clear understanding of God’s existence is both relevant and necessary on Saint Mary’s campus. “Aquinas brings faith and reason together [in his beliefs],” Incandela said. “When we do that, we’re participating in a theology that, in a sense, is being done through divine revelation.” The College is a place to discuss theology openly, he said. “You can do theology in public, and it can be fun,” Incandela said. ” And I think that Saint Mary’s is a home for that theology.” Barron’s renowned global media ministry ranges from YouTube to books to podcasts and DVDs, as well as the Eternal World Television Network (EWTN). As an award-winning author, he has been invited to speak across America and abroad, including the Pontifical North American College at the Vatican and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. As stated by his website, wordonfire.org, his preaching has a straightforward and revolutionary mission: to evangelize the culture. A crowd of about 150 gathered in the student center to hear Barron. The lecture was sponsored by Joyce McMahon Hank, a 1952 graduate of Saint Mary’ s and member of the College’ s Board of Trustees.last_img read more

Financial expert to speak on investing strategy

first_imgFor students looking to make serious dough through investments, one financial expert will give his advice today: in the Internet era, you need to go against the grain. Steve Cortes, a frequent on-air contributor for CNBC’s “Fast Money,” is speaking today in the Mendoza Jordan Auditorium at 6 p.m. He will discuss his new book, “Against The Herd — Six Contrarian Investment Strategies You Should Follow.” “I think in this digital age, the dangers of group-think are more prevalent than ever, particularly in financial markets,” Cortes said. “I think social media in particular has fostered a greater susceptibility to false notions quickly becoming accepted as conventional wisdom.” Cortes said the guiding principle behind his book is to not hold steadfast to commonly accepted financial wisdom. “The book is a tutorial in contrarian thinking in markets,” he said. “By contrarian, I mean being willing to buck conventional wisdom as espoused by Wall Street and the financial media.” Cortes also recommended against investing in China, despite the popular notion that the country will become a world superpower. “My most provocative theme, what I lead with in the book, is I believe China, which most of the world thinks is the next great emerging power and will soon eclipse the United States in many ways, is a false notion,” he said. “I believe if anything China is a very dangerous place to invest, it is a very unstable country, and I am very bearish from an investing standpoint.” For young investors, Cortes said steering away from these seemingly promising markets is an advisable move. “I think that academia, like Wall Street, is incredibly assured that emerging markets … in the world are going to be growth stories in coming years and coming decades,” he said. “It is almost this accepted truth.” Additionally, Cortes said young investors are often exposed to the misconception that heavily investing in stocks is a sure-fire method for financial success. “From an investing standpoint, I believe Wall Street has also [emphasized] too high a percentage in stocks. It is too volatile for most people. It’s particularly sold to young people,” he said. “Wall Street has oversold to the investing public, especially young investors. The grave exposure to equity stock should be relatively small.” For undergraduates looking to enter the business world, Cortes said the ability to learn is more important than field of study. “I think the most important thing is it’s not what you are learning as an undergrad, whether it’s art history or you’re a business major,” he said. “It’s far more about learning how to learn.” Additionally, Cortes said entering into a business-related career is challenging due to the government’s increased regulation of Wall Street. “I wouldn’t dissuade anyone who has a passion, because you are going to do it anyways,” he said. “If you are interested in Wall Street for what it was, it is going to be a very different and a much tougher place going forward.” A self-proclaimed “subway alum” with many family members who have attended the University, Cortes he nearly attended Notre Dame, but chose Georgetown University. “I would have gone to Notre Dame if I had been better at football,” he said. “It broke my mother’s heart that I didn’t go there.” After attending a Jesuit-affiliated university, Cortes said Catholic business principles are important to him. While his book is not written from a moral or political perspective, he said applying these principles to investing strategies is one of the ways he recognizes investing in China as an area of risk. “I do believe one of the reasons China is a dangerous place economically in terms of markets is because of the incredibly unethical way the government treats the people,” he said. “It has not has become a force of innovation and invention. I think one of the reasons, to tie it all in a grand way to Catholic principles, is because the government is so limiting on thought and expression.” A Chicago native, Cortes said through interacting with Notre Dame alumni, he recognizes Notre Dame produces graduates unlike any other school. “Notre Dame takes [its Catholic identity seriously] other great institutions don’t have the faith aspect and they don’t have the sports aspect,” he said. “I think because they don’t have those, they don’t have the kind of life-long identity and spirit and cohesiveness that is certainly evident among Notre Dame grads.”last_img read more

Manager of network design launches third app

first_imgFans of college basketball who compete with friends to pick winners during March Madness each year need only look to their iPhones for an easier bracket-sharing system. Tom Klimek, manager of network design for the Office of Information Technology, launched the application “Men’s Bracket 2012 College Basketball Tournament” earlier this month. The app is his third men’s basketball March Madness bracket system for the iPad and iPhone. Klimek said the application eliminates the hassle of manually filling out, and tracking a March Madness bracket. “Instead of everybody having to fill out paper copies of a bracket and then give it to somebody to keep track of, you can just download the app, create your own pool, invite your friends and all the scoring is done automatically,” Klimek said. Klimek said both the men’s and women’s bracket applications he developed with his business partner Peter Massey have been extremely successful, breaking the top-10 paid sports applications within 24 hours of their releases. Klimek said he attributes the success of the applications to a process of constant dialogue with customers. “I think the success is due to listening to our customers,” Klimek said. “Also, we’re basketball enthusiasts ourselves, so we try to put everything in the apps that we know we would want ourselves.” Klimek said he and Massey decided not to advertise this year’s application since past promotions have shown little increase in sales. “It seems that most of our apps are found by people who are just searching for an app on their phone, instead of by people looking for a specific app after viewing an advertisement,” Klimek said. Klimek said numerous journals and consumer reports have reviewed their applications, and Microsoft even approached them to do business. “They wanted to do a men’s bracket app for the Windows 7 phone, which we felt we didn’t have the time to do,” Klimek said. “But it was still nice to be recognized by such a big company.” Klimek this year’s tournament has been a rough one though, with his championship pick of Syracuse failing to pan out. “My fourteen year-old daughter picked a much better bracket than mine,” Klimek said. “She picked Kentucky to win it all.”last_img read more

Bestselling author examines Jesus as historical figure

first_imgReza Aslan, internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, explored the life of Jesus and the way it is viewed by modern society in a lecture titled “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” on Tuesday as the 2014 Christian Culture Lecture at Saint Mary’s.In his lecture, based off of his New York Times best-selling book by the same name, Aslan said there are differences between the historical Jesus and Jesus the Christ. He said these distinctions demand public attention because different cultures interpret Jesus differently based on their own traits and histories.“You see, this is the thing about the Christ of faith: he is in many ways an infinitely malleable thing,” Aslan said. “He can be whatever a community that worships needs him to be and he has been for the last 2,000 years.“He can take on any ethnicity, he can absorb any history you may have. He can take on any politics you may have … this isn’t just an artistic representation; it is much more than that. This isn’t just a figure to be represented, this is a person of worship, a source of emulation. There are thousands more [representations] I could have shown you. They are attempt by various Christian communities around the world make Jesus their own.”Aslan said he wanted his book to explain to a faith-based audience what consequences come from believing Jesus was fully divine and fully human.“Part of the reason I wrote this book is because I wanted to say in particular to a faith-based audience that there is a consequence to this belief,” Aslan said. “That whatever else Jesus was, God incarnate, whether he was the Messiah, the Son of God, whatever else he was, he was also a man.“There is a consequence to that because if he was also a man, then he was product of his time and place,” he said. “If he was also a man, then he was addressing very specific social ills. If he was also a man, he was addressing very specific religious and political powers. If he was also a man, he was also whatever else he was, deeply influenced by the world he lived.“And so it was the knowledge of that world which makes him extraordinary. Thinking of him in his humanity doesn’t take away what is special about him; it makes him even more special.”Aslan said the “bare bones” of Jesus’ story as a human being is what sets him apart from the rest of mankind.“You are talking about a poor — and when I say poor I mean poorest of the poor — a poor, marginal, uneducated, very likely illiterate Jewish peasant from the backwoods of Galilee, who nowadays would be referred to as a country bum,” Aslan said. “Who despite all of that, through the power of his teachings, the power of his charisma, managed to launch a movement on behalf of the poor and the weak, the marginalized, the dispossessed, women especially — a movement which was seen as such a threat to the largest empire the world had ever known, that he was hunted down like a criminal, arrested, tortured and executed for sedition.“I don’t know about you, but that is the most interesting man in the world to me. If I just told you that — don’t call him Jesus; call him Fred if you want — if I just told you this story about this guy, wouldn’t you want to know who that guy is? To me, it’s the humanity of Jesus that makes him extraordinary.”Aslan said distinguishing the difference between spiritual truth and historical fact when reading sacred scripture is crucial because in the ancient world the Gospel writers were not concerned with allowing the Gospels to be factual and historically accurate.“It is a very difficult thing for us in the modern world to understand because we read the Gospels like we are reading the history of Napoleon and that is not what we are reading,” Aslan said. “Sacred history is not history, and I truly and honestly believe — and this is true of all scripture whether you are talking about a Hebrew Bible, the Quran or the Gospel — I truly believe we would have a more peaceful civilization, that we ourselves would be more spiritually fulfilled, which is to stop focusing so hard on the facts of your scripture and focus on the truth of your scripture.” Tags: Christian Culture Lecture, Jesus, Reza Aslan, saint mary’s, SMClast_img read more

Students spread awareness about lead problem in South Bend

first_imgFlint, Michigan, and South Bend, Indiana, have a lot in common — both are post-industrial Midwestern cities with about 100,000 people, and both have a lead problem.In order to help deal with the lead problem in South Bend, sophomores Brittany Margritz and Alex Bonino volunteered for “Get the Lead Out,” an event meant to raise awareness in the community about the problem and the opportunities for free testing.Margritz said she and Bonino were made aware of the event through an engineering class they were both taking.“We’re in a class called ‘Community-Based Engineering Design Projects,’ and we were tasked with designing a local project in the South Bend community, and our professor told us that … one of them was involvement in the lead project, and we decided that would be the best,” she said.Knowing the extent of the lead problem, discovered after a 10-year study done by Reuters, motivated Bonino to go out and inform the community on problems and possible solutions, he said.“So people are upset with what’s happening in Flint, Michigan, when there’s higher levels here in St. Joseph’s County,” Bonino said. “ … The northwest of South Bend and the area [has found] 31 percent of the children tested over that time span had lead levels that were above the CDC recommendations where action needs to be taken. [This] was the highest percentage in all of Indiana.”This study, Margritz said, revealed some unexpectedly high numbers of children testing positive for lead.“[The number of those testing positive is] six times higher than the levels in Flint, Michigan,” she said.Margritz said those attempting to help with awareness sought out the advice of those in the community in order to pursue the best course of action for dealing with the problem in any way possible.“There’s already a lot of people involved at the University, like Dr. [Heidi] Biedinger, so we started out by meeting with people like that to figure out what was going on and what was happening and if there was a place for us to get involved that would be beneficial to people,” she said.While undergraduate students were limited in the impact they could make, any small steps to make progress were worthwhile, Bonino said.“So unfortunately for undergraduate students at Notre Dame, this problem is a little too widespread and has too much monetary demand [that] undergraduates can’t solve this issue,” he said “So primarily, what we have to do is spread information. … People don’t know if their kid has tested for high levels of lead.”In order to help in whatever capacity possible, students have been diagramming the effects of lead and mapping where the most cases of children testing positive for lead occur.“We’re trying to make webs and comprehensive diagrams of everybody involved and how they affect each other,” he said.Bonino said collaborators from the University and community were key in helping the project succeed.“We partnered up with Engineers Without Borders and the Eck Institute and the New Northwest community center,” he said. “ … [We] talked to them about easy remediation tasks, because painting a house can cost thousands of dollars, but simple things like dusting with wet rags … can keep levels of lead down.”In order to further help alleviate the effects of these problems, Margritz said she hoped to help foster greater community engagement.“We’re planning on, hopefully, forming an undergraduate coalition of sorts … so we can work together with different departments to see how we can fix the issue,” she said.Bonino said there were those at the University who were already taking up the mission to help fix the lead problem in the city. “One person who is taking action this summer is Dr. Maria Lieberman,” he said. “She has one undergraduate researcher … who will be testing plots in different areas to see where the lead is most highly concentrated.”Tags: City of South Bend, eck institute, Engineering without Borders, leadlast_img read more

Student Diversity Board hosts Mosaic Dinner

first_imgIn assembling individual small pieces of brightly-colored glass, stones, shells, beads and ceramic tiles, an artist creates a mosaic, or a beautiful image that can only be appreciated once all the materials are glued together.  On Wednesday, the Saint Mary’s Student Diversity Board brought individuals from the campus community together in a similar fashion, through its annual Mosaic Dinner. This dinner allows participants to join a conversation about and celebration of diversity and inclusion on the college campus.Junior Jazmin Herrera, the vice president of Student Diversity Board, said this event encapsulates the board’s mission to promote diversity and educate others about inclusive practices. The definition of diversity is multifaceted and always changing, Herrera said, and the Mosaic dinner gives the Saint Mary’s community an opportunity to explore race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion and other identifiers that make the college a more diverse place.“I think it’s really important for students to come just so they know who their allies are and also to know that they fit into this definition and that they contribute to the celebration and education on campus,” Herrera said.Junior Guadalupe Gonzalez, vice president of strategic affairs, said the dinner unites the Saint Mary’s community by giving voice to diverse individuals, and allowing participants to recognize the beauty in shared and unique differences.“Even the name itself, Mosaic, it’s an artwork,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a coming together in a collage of different people, different pieces, different stories, different lived experiences. … This is why [the Mosaic dinner] is really important, because that’s the main goal … and you don’t see any other event like that.”In past years, the Mosaic dinner has instead been held as a casual mixer including crafts and games, Herrera said.“This year, we decided to host a dinner because it’s more intimate,” she said. “Basically, it’s just an opportunity for faculty, students and different student leaders of clubs that celebrate and promote diversity and inclusivity on campus to mingle and get to know each other.”Gonzalez said the board made the decision to reintroduce Mosaic dinners because of the previous lack of response from the student body.“What we’re trying to do is go back to the roots of it, back to making it into a dinner, making it … more important and less casual. Good food, good people, good discussions,” Gonzalez said. “Our mission with this dinner is just to truly bring awareness and help people connect with others. It’s like a networking event where we all know what we’re here for, and we’re trying to become advocates for all.”This year, Mary Burke, the chair of the Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees, presented a keynote address explaining how the new administration under Interim President Nancy Nekvasil will further promote the mission of Student Diversity Board.Before the dinner, Herrera said she hoped the address would help students become more familiar with Burke and her role at Saint Mary’s.“She will be speaking on how diversity and inclusion fit into the board’s priorities and also on how she is an ally on campus,” Herrera said.Tags: Diversity, mosaic dinner, Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees, Student Diversity Boardlast_img read more

Saint Mary’s community shares thoughts on Angela Athletic and Wellness Complex dress code

first_imgSaint Mary’s Angela Athletic and Wellness Complex has had the same dress code for the past 15 years — yet most students don’t even know about it. Earlier in the year, there was a poster in Angela describing the dress code, but it has since been taken down. A notice at the front desk describes proper Angela dress code, but it is not openly on display. Director of athletics Julie Schroeder-Biek said in an email the dress code stipulates those who use Angela’s facilities are not allowed to wear shirts that have been modified, clothing that shows an exposed torso, shirts with rivets, bare feet, open-toed shoes, sandals, dress shoes or jeans while working out or using gym equipment. The main purpose of the dress code is to promote community health and safety, she said.“In our new facility, we want to reduce the chances of damaging our equipment and keep our equipment as clean as possible,” Schroeder-Biek said in the email. “Keeping minimal skin contact with the upholstery benefits the longevity of equipment; clothing absorbs sweat and keeps it off the upholstery. Inappropriate attire can damage our equipment and pose safety hazards to those using the equipment. Ultimately, our number-one priority is ensuring that our community is safe and healthy in our facility. ”Schroeder-Biek also said the dress code will reduce the amount of bacterial contamination. “There will be less skin contact with the fitness equipment, which minimizes the risk of disease-causing germs” she said.Sophomore Elizabeth Schulte, a student desk worker in Angela, said violations of the dress code aren’t common in Angela. “It’s never really happened to me,” Schulte said. “I don’t think there’s really a set protocol for what [we’re] supposed to do if someone breaks the dress code. If it did happen, it would be left up to the directors to take care of it. I’d probably just go get one of them and let them decide about what to do. I wouldn’t openly confront the person breaking dress code.”Several Saint Mary’s students had mixed reactions to learning about the dress code. First-year Grace Dennis said she feels the College’s policy is just enforcing a “standard workout outfit.”“I’m not mad about it,” Dennis said.However, other students were more upset about some of the limitations the dress code presents. Sophomore Cecelia Klimek said the policy is policing student wardrobes.“I think the ban on crop tops and sports bras in workout areas is honestly kind of stupid,” Klimek said. “It perpetuates the culture where women are sexualized based on what they wear — or rather, in this case, what they don’t wear.”Klimek said she disagreed with Schroeder-Biek’s arguments in support of the dress code.“They wipe down all of the equipment after workouts and people sweat anyway,” she said. “If you’re wearing a t-shirt, you still sweat — that won’t change if you wear something different or more open.”Some workout clothing can be constricting and can prevent a high-performance workout, she added.“It honestly might just be better to wear a sports bra or crop top when doing certain workouts,” she said. “When you’re doing yoga and are in ‘downward dog’ or one of the other positions, it’s a lot easier to do knowing your shirt’s not going to fall over your head.” Klimek said she ultimately believes the women of Saint Mary’s should have the freedom to choose what they want to wear when working out. “I think people should just wear what they find comfortable,” she said. “If you’re more comfortable in a sports bra, why is that a problem?” Tags: Angela Athletic and Wellness Facility, dress code, Julie Schroeder-Biek, saint mary’slast_img read more

SUB starts off the year with hopes of rebranding and inclusion

first_imgThe second floor of LaFortune Student Center is home to Notre Dame’s own Student Union Board, or SUB for short. In a large room with walls decorated with posters from SUB’s past events, from “Dogs and Donuts” to “Cuddles and Cocoa,” students plan free events taking place on campus. SUB’s mission statement is to “enhance undergraduate student life by providing undergraduate student services and social, intellectual and cultural opportunities” for students on campus, but this year their main goal is to focus on diversity and inclusion, executive director Eric Kim said. Kim, a senior, said the inclusion aspect is especially important to SUB going forward.  Photo courtesy of Eric Kim Students gather on North Quad for a movie screening, one of the many free events hosted by Student Union Board (SUB) last year.“We try to really try to incorporate the themes of diversity and inclusion,” Kim said. “Many people get confused … the idea is that it’s great to have a diversity of events, but people forget about the idea of inclusion. We want to make sure that all of our events have intentionality behind them, and we want to make sure that everyone feels included in all events, because our all our events are for the student body, and not just specific people.”In the last year, SUB provided a packed audience with a talk by Karamo Brown, one of the stars of hit Netflix series “Queer Eye.” The group partnered with PrismND to sponsor Brown’s event. Kim said SUB wants to continue these partnerships in the upcoming year, in order to give students unique perspectives.“[Brown] does provide a really interesting perspective that I would say a majority of the student body would benefit from,” Kim said. “We want to continue bringing that theme to this year, and providing a different perspective that a majority of students could benefit from.”This is director of operations Siena Gruler’s first year working in SUB.Gruler, a junior, said she and Kim want to brand SUB in a more recognizable way. “It’s my first year in SUB, and I didn’t really know what it was before I applied,” Gruler said. “We want the whole student body to know it. I’ve had people ask me like, ‘Oh, what do they do besides the concerts?’ So we want to expand that, and we want people to know what we are besides just the concerts.” Although SUB does host similar events yearly, Gruler said they do try to change up the kinds of events offered. “We try to make sure that they’re different from semester to semester from year to year, just to appeal to a different group on campus,” Gruler said. “We don’t want it to be too repetitive, even if we are programming the same types of events.”SUB differs from other student groups such as the Student Activities Office (SAO) in that SAO primarily offers activities during the weekend that act as an alternative to partying, Kim said.SUB is already beginning the year with a ‘Standup Bash,’ a free event showcasing different comedians and featuring LeClerc Andre, Tyler Boeh and Gina Brillon this Friday night. Aside from their unique events, SUB also hosts reliable events that happen weekly and monthly — including Acousticafé every Thursday night in Duncan Student Center and movie screenings in Debartolo Hall. Although the fall concert has not been announced yet, Kim and Gruler said plans have been in the works since this summer. “Usually, if it’s a bigger name and event, like the concert, speakers, comedians, magicians and others, we work that out two to four months in advance,” Kim said. Kim and Gruler urge students who have suggestions or ideas to contact SUB directly. “Ultimately, we want to do our job,” Kim said, “We want to make sure our jobs done correctly and efficiently. That can only be done through student input, so if students have ideas, don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] We’re more than willing to listen to whatever it is, because these events are for them.”Tags: Karamo Brown, Student Union Board, SUBlast_img read more

Chinese Cultural Club to host Mid-Autumn Festival

first_imgSaint Mary’s Chinese Culture Club is preparing to host its annual Mid-Autumn Festival on Thursday evening. Senior Shiyi Wang, president of the club, said celebration of the festival is not just confined to China.“Countries that were influenced by China, including Korea and Japan, also hold mid-autumn festivals,” Wang said. The celebrations will take place Thursday from 5-8 p.m. During the celebrations, friends and family gather to enjoy moon cakes, music, poetry, games and dancing. A welcoming atmosphere, much like the one experienced at Thanksgiving, is promoted by the emphasis on enjoying traditional food with family members. Siqin Yang, the assistant director for global education at Saint Mary’s and one of the advisors of the Chinese Culture Club, said the festival is meant to be welcoming to all.“The meal often takes place at a round table to promote inclusivity,” she said.Like Thanksgiving, the mid-autumn festival also began as a harvest celebration. The community’s good fortune was celebrated and stories were retold.This theme of spending time with family and friends emphasizes community; the core value of learning that Saint Mary’s College is focusing on this year. “I feel like we should keep our curiosity for different cultures … and appreciate the beauty in human beings,” Yang said. “This will lead to more joy.”Unlike other events put on by the Chinese Culture Club, such as China Night, a Chinese New Year celebration, the mid-autumn festival is geared specifically toward the students of Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and Holy Cross. The event is being held in Spes Unica in the hope that the study space will draw people and promote awareness. In addition, the atrium will provide plenty of room for activities that will be part of the festival. Senior Mia Washington, along with a local high school student and several friends, will be performing the song “The Moon Represents my Heart.” A guest performer from South Bend will introduce students to a traditional instrument called the genzheng. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to participate in yoga, a game of telephone with Chinese phrases and a game of musical chairs to Chinese music. There will be moon cakes and other snacks.Senior Yijie Ren, a member of the Chinese Culture Club, said club members hope the event leads to a sense of inclusion.“[We want] to enhance diversity and integration, and to celebrate this special day with both Chinese international students and local students,” she said.Tags: Chinese Culture Club, Diversity, inclusion, saint mary’slast_img read more

NY Eyes Extra Revenue But Forecasters Warn About New Virus

first_imgPhoto: Jim Bowen / CC BY 2.0ALBANY — New York could see at least $700 million in extra tax revenue through March 2021, but the state’s economic outlook is nonetheless uncertain because of the new coronavirus outbreak.The state’s latest economic forecast says the spread of the disease could end up severely restraining global and domestic growth and hurting global supply chains. But forecasters say a quick resolution to the outbreak could make the economic outlook less bleak.The governor and Legislature’s annual consensus forecast was released Sunday — the same day that the state confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in a woman who had recently returned from Iran.Amid worries about how the outbreak might affect the state’s economy, there was some good news: The forecast estimated that the state could have at least $700 million in extra revenue over the next year, and two separate reports by the state Senate and Assembly say New York could see even more money, predicting over $1 billion more in additional tax revenues through March 2021. Lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are currently discussing how to use any extra revenues in the state budget, which is due by April 1.The state’s Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and fiscal watchdog groups are calling for more money in the state rainy day fund in case the economy worsens. Liberal advocacy groups want the state to direct more spending to education and the state’s increasingly costly Medicaid system serving 3 million low-income New Yorkers.The consensus forecast says the national economy will keep growing but at a slower pace due to declining global growth, a tight labor market and the waning impact of 2017 corporate tax cuts.The report estimates that personal income and wage growth will increase over the next two years but also at a slowing pace. Any increase to interest rates could also hit New York particularly hard, forecasters warn. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more