ISSUE 71 | July 17, 2020
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
How a tax incentive to reduce blight could affect PA municipalities
On Tuesday, Governor Tom Wolf signed into law Senate Bill 352 – the Tax Exemption and Mixed-Use Incentive Program Act.

This bill will allow local governments to provide new tax incentives for mixed-use development and projects that revitalize blighted areas.

Officials hope the new legislation will encourage investment in community development.

Lackawanna eyes Wilkes-Barre as model for potential health department
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the Wilkes-Barre City Health Department has engaged in contact tracing – the process of identifying everyone with whom a COVID-19 patient has come in contact.

Lackawanna County and Scranton do not currently have a system in place to do this.

Local government officials are considering the creation of a city or county health department modeled after Wilkes-Barre’s, which could yield benefits beyond the pandemic.

PA Department of Health warns of young people spreading COVID-19
Although many states have begun to reopen their economies, the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has increased significantly throughout the last month.

Confirmed cases have also increased in more than half of Pennsylvania’s counties.

According to Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine, these diagnoses have become particularly prevalent among younger adults.

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
What science and other countries can teach about reopening schools
School districts throughout the United States are considering the option of resuming in-person classes in the fall, amid an ongoing surge of coronavirus cases.

A report from The New York Times explains what science suggests about the risks of sending teachers and children back to schools, and what can be learned from experiences in other countries. 

How health insurance coverage is changing due to the COVID-19 recession
A study from the Urban Institute examines the extent to which pandemic-related job losses are affecting employer-sponsored health insurance.

The study estimates that more than 10 million people will lose health insurance due to recent job loss.

Although many will find new insurance under Medicaid, the marketplace, or employer coverage through a family member, the authors approximate that 3.5 million people will remain uninsured. 

Working parents are the keys to COVID-19 recovery
According to a new report from the Brookings Institution, parents with young children comprise about one third of the U.S. workforce, and these parents currently face high levels of uncertainty regarding the reopening of schools and childcare centers.

The author of the report argues that any effective plan for economic recovery must address the education and childcare concerns of working parents.

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