ISSUE 243 | February 8, 2024

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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News

Sensory-Inclusive Program Now Offers Mental Health Services

The sensory-inclusive pediatric therapy program Kids At Play now offers mental health support for children in addition to its other physical and occupational services.

This comes as a result of increased depression, anxiety, and trauma among younger populations.

Kids At Play is based in the Greater Philadelphia Area and was founded in 2016 as a neurodivergent inclusive play area.

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Governor Proposes Increase in Education Funding to Address Inequalities


The Shapiro Administration has proposed a $1 billion increase in education funding, a historic decision that is said to be the largest single year funding increase in the state.

It is intended to address and repair educational inequalities, such as disparities in resources and accessibility in rural and impoverished areas.

The funding will target disproportionately disadvantaged regions such as Alleghany County, and may include a cap on allocations to cyber charter schools and other schools with large per-student expenditures. 

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PA Awards $3 Million for Farmland Conservation


The Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission has approved a $3 million grant to improve water and soil quality across the state.

Extending from the Conservation Excellent Grant Program, the funds will supplement the efforts of four organizations around the Chesapeake Bay, as well as the Lancaster Farm Trust.

The program will also support 10 preserved farms. 

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From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News

Consumer Price Index Reveals Factors Affecting Housing Costs


According to data from the Consumer Price Index, housing represents approximately one third of the overall value of market goods and services.

This study also suggests that the increase in the cost of housing is a large contributing factor to high inflation.

The prices of housing and rent are determined by factors that can be difficult for researchers to track; however, studying the links between housing, rent, and other market rates reveal valuable indicators year-to-year cost of living shifts. 


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Court Blocks EPA Action in Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley”

In a move that has been protested for its civil rights implications, the Environmental Protection Agency has been blocked from investigating racial disparities in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley.

Environmental advocates have long lobbied against the practice of increasing pollution-spreading industries to low-income communities and communities of color, a practice which has resulted in exposure to toxic and cancer-causing substances.

This ruling comes as a recent number of federal decisions that challenge the findings of racially motivated decisions with long-lasting implications for communities. 

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Expansion of the Child Tax Credit Would Bolster Education and Earnings


Congress has begun deliberating the Wyden Smith tax deal proposal.

This proposal will expand the Child Tax Credit, increasing benefits, adjusting credits for inflation, and giving families the ability to use last year’s income to qualify for both 2024 and 2025.

According to research by the Urban Institute, the expansion of the Child Tax Credit will yield long-term benefits for families, including a boost in high school and college graduation, and increased earnings through adulthood. 

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