ISSUE 70 | July 10, 2020
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
Report on population and income growth not the whole story, officials say
A study from the Independent Fiscal Office in Harrisburg shows that Luzerne County ranked 26 th of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties in terms of population growth in recent years, but with relatively little growth in per capita income compared to other counties.

It is difficult to draw conclusions from this income data, however, because counties vary significantly in size, composition, and cost of living.

Evictions loom large as PA renter relief program stumbles
Numerous issues with Pennsylvania’s new rental assistance program have slowed the process of getting money to renters.

Many applicants have been unable to submit complete applications, and the application form is not currently available in Spanish, creating a language barrier for Hispanic renters.

Governor Tom Wolf has extended the statewide eviction and foreclosure moratorium through August to address these and other concerns.  

Philly landlords sue to stop laws meant to help struggling tenants
A landlord association in Philadelphia is suing to stop the implementation of laws passed by the city government to prevent tenants from being evicted.

The laws would extend the eviction moratorium, give tenants a nine-month repayment period, temporarily ban landlords from charging late fees, and create an eviction diversion program.

The association argues that these laws would not sufficiently protect landlords. 

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
The nation is diversifying even faster than predicted
The latest racial and ethnic demographic estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau suggest that the nation is becoming more diverse than was previously expected.

Racial and ethnic minorities account for all population growth in the last decade, and nearly one in four Americans identify with a race or ethnic group other than white.

The younger population (under age 16) has become especially diverse.

Lisbon has a plan to reclaim housing from Airbnb
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, has launched a new program to address two coinciding problems:

  • the loss of business in the short-stay rental market (dominated by Airbnb)

  • the city’s affordable housing shortage, which has worsened due to the global pandemic

The program incentivizes landlords to return their properties to the long-term market by renting to the city rather than individual tenants.

It is time to improve the Opportunity Zone incentive
The Opportunity Zone incentive for economic development was created as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, with the goal of improving disadvantaged communities.

A recent study indicates that the incentive program may not be consistently meeting community development goals, however.

The authors of the study have identified why the program has fallen short of its goals, and they have provided recommendations for improvement. 

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