July 15, 2022
Another 25 years for PICA

We applaud the General Assembly for its unanimous support of HB1935, renewing the authority of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA) through 2047. Created during the depths of Philadelphia’s early 1990s fiscal crisis to borrow money on the city’s behalf, PICA was the backstop that kept Philly out of bankruptcy court. Its original enactment required the city to adopt a five-year plan each year, and led to pension reform and the establishment of a rainy-day fund. The city’s books are in better shape today, but with the possibility of another recession looming, PICA will remain an important safety net to help maintain the fiscal stability needed for the city government to continue serving residents.
  • More on PICA: In a 2020 Pew Trusts report on the pros and cons of extending PICA’s mandate, former Mayor Michael Nutter called it “the most significant fiscal disciplinary tool ever enacted in the city.”
Undated ballot dispute reveals risk to fair elections

While Governor Wolf was signing one election bill (a compromise trading state election funding for a ban on private funding) and vetoing another (a measure to expand partisan poll watching), his acting Secretary of State, Leigh Chapman, sued three counties for refusing to count valid but undated mail-in ballots in the May primary. As the Inquirer reports, the dispute highlights the power that local officials across 67 counties can wield when it comes to some election matters, a patchwork system that could pose greater risks than ever before, given our hyperpartisan political climate and continued spread of misinformation.
  • Where election funding falls short: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette slams lawmakers for providing new election funding but omitting the additional time to process mail-in ballots – a commonsense provision that county election officials have been begging for since 2020.
Caught Our Eye
Seventy CEO Al Schmidt joined a C-SPAN panel in Washington, D.C., for a forum on efforts to secure the 2020 election and steps underway to prepare for the upcoming midterms.
On our radar

  • GAO on the 2020 election: The Government Accountability Office issued a report on how states and counties conducted the 2020 presidential election. One unsurprising finding: “Nearly all states and most local jurisdictions reported that false or misleading information about absentee/mail voting was challenging.”

  • News diet: Axios reports that Americans paid much less attention to news in 2021 than in 2020, with noticeable engagement declines with social media, mainstream-media websites and apps, and cable-TV news. Those trends are expected to continue in 2022.
Get Involved
Apply for a Buchholz Fellowship

After a successful launch in 2017, our fifth cohort of Buchholz Fellows are concluding their year as members of C70’s Board of Directors. Now we’re seeking our sixth cohort. Buchholz Fellows are emerging young leaders (recommended age is 25-35ish) working in the private or nonprofit sector who embody the qualities that longtime Seventy stalwart Carl Buchholz exhibited in his life and work: personal and professional integrity, a strong work ethic, collaborative spirit, and a passion for improving his community. Applications are open until Friday, Aug. 26. Apply.
Voter Registration and Poll Worker Recruitment

The Philadelphia NAACP is partnering with Black Voters Matter and Millennials in Action to hosting register voters and recruit poll workers at events through September:

  • July 23, 12-2:30pm: Fred’s Water Ice (5343 Chester Ave)
  • July 30, 12-2:30pm: Fred's Water Ice (6560 N Lambert St)
  • Aug 13, 1-4pm: 52nd Street Station (52nd & Market St)
  • Aug 20, 12-3pm: Philadelphia Branch NAACP (4458-B Germantown Ave)
  • Aug 6, 1-4pm: Jacobs Northwest (7165 Germantown Ave)
  • Aug 27, 1-4pm: Broad & Olney Transportation Center
  • Sept 26, 1-4pm: Germantown & Chelten
For the first time since our founding in 1904, Seventy has created a membership program to broaden, diversify and expand our community of local democracy-builders. Your membership also provides unique opportunities to meet civic leaders and policy experts, gain inside knowledge of the reform process, and connect with people who are passionate about our city and commonwealth.
Become a member today!