ISSUE 106 | May 5, 2021
The Institute is an economic research and applied research and consulting group that provides customized client solutions and strategies to facilitate decision making and planning that enhances growth, impact, and sustainability for organizations.
From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
PA redistricting may head to high court again
The General Assembly may turn to the state Supreme Court to decide who would break a tie pertaining to the new legislative maps.

Doing so is essential in order to reduce the potential of gerrymandering.

Although gerrymandering can be difficult to prove, the PA Supreme Court found in 2018 that Republicans maximized the number of seats for their party while compromising the Democrats, so open and objective processes and people are needed this time. 

Black Caucus proposals shaping PA police reform
Last summer, the PA Black Caucus proposed 19 recommendations for police reform.

These have become law:

  • the formation of a statewide database of police personnel files departments can use to screen for past misconduct

  • mandated PTSD training for officers to better “spot child abuse, recognize bias and use force”

The 17 other recommendations are being discussed in both houses by both parties. 

Census confirms that PA will lose a congressional seat
The U.S. Census is the basis for deployment of federal funds that support infrastructure, education, housing, and health care in communities.

Such funding fuels a significant portion of PA projects and programs.

The Census also informs congressional representation; therefore, the decline in PA population has adversely affected the state’s clout in Congress. 

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
DOT acknowledges the impact of connectivity on public health
Whether it’s a matter of accessing healthy food options or quality health care, transportation is critical.

Public transportation plays an important role in meeting these needs.

The U.S. Department of Transportation indicates that, “At the regional level, efficient roadways and public transportation service affect access to jobs, education, and healthcare opportunities. Public transportation service is particularly important to ensure access for people unable to drive, such as members of low-income households, children, individuals with disabilities, and older adults.” 

Study reveals dynamics of deterioration in Black neighborhoods
A study of more than 300 black neighborhoods with healthy median incomes in 2000 found that a large majority slipped into poverty by 2018.

Findings suggest that deterioration occurs less rapidly in white neighborhoods, due in part to the real estate market.

Lending and appraisal biases are pervasive, but potential legislation and incentivized investment may help. 

Lawmakers continue efforts to elevate housing bill 
The American Housing and Economic Mobility Act has been reintroduced to legislators.

If passed, policy would include funding for three million new housing units and allow down payment assistance in historically redlined neighborhoods.

Analysis indicates that this bill could reduce housing costs for working and middle class families by 10 percent. 

Research Spotlight: The Institute has recently studied the impact of redlining in Northeast Pennsylvania. Access the research here
Research Institutions
Relaying Relevant News & Research to Local Stakeholders