Rep. Madeleine Dean Wants More, and Automatic, Cash Payments

The federal CARES Act substantially expanded unemployment insurance and will also send direct payments of around $1,200 to most Americans, but many economists seem to agree that the package was nowhere near large enough to offset the enormous demand shock to the economy. And some are warning that—absent a more robust response from Congress and the Fed—a quarter to one-third of Americans could be thrown out of work within a few months. Already in Pennsylvania, there have been over 1.1 million UI claims—about 16% of the workforce. Continue reading

What Will the CARES Act Do for Philadelphia?

(Estimate of PA and PHL spending allocation | Image: Philadelphia 3.0) The CARES Act (aka the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) is the largest federal stimulus bill in American history. At the time of the bill’s signing, estimates put anticipated spending at roughly $2.2 trillion. To put that figure in context, the Federal government spent $4.4 trillion in 2019, and the Bush-era Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 included roughly $152 billion in spending. Funding from the CARES Act will likely touch every part of the government, and at every level.  Continue reading

Wolf and Legislature Reach Deal to Postpone Electione to June 2nd

Governor Tom Wolf and Republican legislative leaders reached an agreement Wednesday to move Pennsylvania's primary election to June 2nd, Jan Murphy reports, along with some other measures designed to ease election administration and increase the convenience of voting during the pandemic. Continue reading

Support Grows for Vote-By-Mail Election in PA

As more indications suggest the coronavirus lockdown could last for months, not weeks, momentum has been building to move Pennsylvania's primary to a later date in May or June, and scale up our new vote-by-mail program to reach all eligible voters. Continue reading

Delaying PA's Primary and Universal Vote-By-Mail: Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together

Pennsylvania's primary elections are coming up fast on Tuesday, April 28th, and nobody can say with any certainty that the need for physical distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic will abate by then.  Continue reading

Kenney Admin Preparing Economic Response to COVID-19

After the Kenney administration ordered bars and restaurants closed yesterday, and with more state restrictions on in-person business activity coming as the COV-19 pandemic spreads, we're starting to get a glimpse of what the city and state economic response will look like. Economist Adam Ozimek notes that, according to the JP Morgan Institute, about half of small businesses have less than 15 days of cash buffer before they're in the red, so the clock is ticking for especially federal politicians to make get cash out the door and into the hands of small businesses and workers fast. Cities and states may be able to act more nimbly, however, and any federal response would work partly through them.  Continue reading

'Home Rule' Episode 2: Popularity Contest - Does America Need a National Popular Vote?

In 2016, President Donald Trump was able to win the Electoral College by flipping a few Rust Belt swing states that had been trending Democratic—specifically Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin—despite receiving 2.9 million fewer actual votes than Hillary Clinton. And current polling in those swing states suggests there are decent odds that could happen again. Continue reading

Rep. Kevin Boyle Wants to Mail Every PA Voter a Mail-In Ballot Because of Coronavirus

With health officials urging social isolation measures to slow the spread of coronavirus, and uncertainty looming over upcoming large-scale public events, Philadelphia Rep. Kevin Boyle is announcing a new bill that would lean into Pennsylvania’s new vote-by-mail system and mail every voter a ballot. Continue reading

The Race is on to Shape PA's Post-Census Redistricting

Most people who follow politics know about gerrymandering in the sense of districts being skewed to favor one political party or another, but there are also other methods that state politicians can use to weaken the political power of people in dense metros in state politics. Continue reading

Council Report: Week of March 9th

Readers rejoice! We're bringing back our weekly Council Report, with plain-English summaries of the big-ticket City Council bills that were introduced in the last week.  Continue reading