ISSUE 161 | June 15, 2022
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
Local government serves as example of successful business supporter during COVID  
Many governments have adapted rules to support their local businesses with unique initiatives, like allowing businesses to access the public right of way on sidewalks and in parking lanes, and even to fully close some streets to automobile traffic.

Philadelphia’s restaurant and gym program, with revised city ordinances, ranked among the 14 most effective in the country.

All businesses were eligible for permits, and the city reviewed applications within three business days.  

Mental health issues and bullying rampant in PA schools 
Safe2Say Something accepts anonymous tips on bullying, threats, and other issues of school violence.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office has reported that 73.0 percent of calls pertain to mental health, bullying, suicide, self-harm, discrimination, and harassment.

Calls for immediate assistance grew from 15.7 percent in 2019 to 20.3 percent in 2021.   

PA could achieve climate change with blue carbon ecosystems but data is unavailable 
The Pew Research Center is helping states better understand their blue carbon resources, as well as how officials can enhance and improve data for climate change improvement.

The blue carbon report card details state-level progress and data-sharing solutions.

Pennsylvania has no public data to be included in the study, however. 

Data Spotlight: Have you seen The Institutes new interactive data dashboard? Use the link to access information for Lackawanna, Luzerne, and 11 surrounding counties - as well as six regional cities!

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
New York’s model for paid family leave offers helpful lessons  
NY uses a private insurance model for paid family leave, in which the state serves oversight and regulatory roles while private insurers and businesses collect premiums and provide benefits. 

The program was modeled after NY’s temporary disability leave program, so it may not be adaptable to other states without such programs.

The program is popular, but the financial sustainability remains to be determined.

Boston tests the possibility of mass transit as an equalizer
A two-year pilot program in Boston has eliminated fares on three business lines through the city’s poorest and most diverse communities.

Ridership increased within the first few months, and service improved as well because passengers did not have to swipe cards or find change.

Initial feedback indicates that some riders are still required to transfer and pay train fares, however, and it is not yet clear whether the initiative has dissuaded drivers from using their cars. 

Software application helps battle food insecurity
According to Pew Research Center, 97.0 percent of all Americans own cell phones and food insecurity affects 42 million people.

Food insecurity correlates with heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes ($50 billion in health care costs).

A new text messaging software allows people to use their phones to find food, functioning similar to online ordering platforms and connecting prepaid groceries and full balanced meals to people in need. 

Research Institutions
Relaying Relevant News & Research to Local Stakeholders