by Bruce Katz, Ross Baird, Colin Higgins, Maegan Moore and Ian O’Grady · May 7
While Wall Street is booming, Main Street in America is just barely scraping by after a year of lockdowns and suppressed demand. According to estimates from Opportunity Insights, the number of small businesses currently open across the country has decreased by 32.2% compared to before the pandemic. In order for entrepreneurs and businesses to recover — and to have a recovery that provides fair opportunity for all — we need innovation in how we finance our country’s local businesses.
by Bruce Katz, Kian Kamas and Luise Noring · April 30
A year ago, we wrote about how a period defined by a global pandemic, economic contraction and racial reckoning might become a catalyst for institutional transformation in cities. These profound events have simultaneously exacerbated inequities in our cities and revealed the inadequacies of the current architecture of governance within and across cities. Advancing shared prosperity and racial equity requires structural reform, which even a torrent of federal resources cannot address.
by Bruce Katz, Colin Higgins, Karyn Bruggeman and Victoria Orozco · April 15
We wanted to share testimony that was presented to the Philadelphia City Council’s Committee on Fiscal Stability and Intergovernmental Cooperation on April 13, 2021. The testimony builds on two signature research products published by the Nowak Metro Finance Lab and our partners — a Federal Investment Guide to the American Rescue Plan (ARP), which shows how ARP funds will flow to 84 programs from 19 federal agencies via 7 distribution channels, and the Small Business Equity Toolkit, which shows where the top 100 metropolitan areas stood before the pandemic on the number, size and sector concentration of women and minority-owned firms.
by Bruce Katz, Colin Higgins, Karyn Bruggeman, Victoria Orozco and Paige Sterling · April 2
On March 11, President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) into law. The legislation makes historic investments intended to steer people and places across the country out of the worst economic and public health shock in a hundred years. It strives to make the large-scale impact that the moment demands. To do so, though, the federal government must harness the full capacities of local state, city, and county governments. As we move from policy design to deployment of the ARP, cities and counties must be in the driver’s seat.
Put simply: local leaders must first understand the totality of federal sources in the American Rescue Plan and in short order establish a clear set of local uses to drive the deployment of these funds.
by Bruce Katz, Victoria Orozco, Colin Higgins and Aaron Thomas · March 25
The COVID-19 crisis is America’s greatest economic shock since the Great Depression. It’s landing hardest on small businesses, the heart of local economies and community life. The pandemic has revealed not only the fragility of many of these enterprises but also the profound racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in how they are supported by federal policies, private practices, and local actions.
This social upheaval from the pandemic has also sharpened our focus. Over the past several months, the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University has partnered with Accelerator for America and The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth to develop the Small Business Equity Toolkit.
by Bruce Katz and Colin Higgins · March 12
Yesterday, President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP). The scale of intervention is historic and unprecedented as befits the devastating impact of this global pandemic.
We now shift from legislation to execution — from design to delivery. There’s a lot in the bill, including substantial flexible resources sent directly to City and County Halls. The question for cities, metros and counties now is a big one: How can communities deploy the ARP in the most efficient and equitable manner?
In what follows, we provide an overview of key provisions of the package and explain how local leaders can prepare to deploy these funds. This piece provides an overarching framework for identifying and deploying needed investments. We’ve focused on small business support to show what this could look like in practice.
A Conversation with Iina Oilinki, Helsinki Metropolitan Smart and Clean Foundation · March 4
The Biden Administration has built the strongest climate team of any U.S. Administration. As this team and their Congressional allies begin to craft federal policies to address climate change, it is critical that they focus on how they can leverage and learn from cities, in the U.S. and beyond.
Nordic cities, in particular, have been at the vanguard of both climate mitigation and adaptation solutions for quite some time. Luise Noring, Torben Klitgaard, Helle Lis Soholt and I, for example, have written before about how Copenhagen is on a glidepath to become the first global city to achieve zero carbon emissions. Copenhagen’s plan is an intricate mix of concrete goals and initiatives that aim to drive change through four areas: energy consumption, energy production, green mobility, and city administration.
Bruce Katz, Bob Geolas and Julie Wagner · February 25
As Congress moves closer to enacting President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, focus on the elements of a broader recovery package is intensifying. While the relief package addresses the urgent, immediate challenges of the pandemic (including state and local fiscal relief) and accelerated vaccine distribution, the recovery package is intended to address the structural challenges that pre-date the public health crisis: geographically unbalanced economic growth, accelerating climate change, growing income inequities and a reckoning with systemic racism. The recovery package is the vehicle for achieving President Biden’s vision for “Building Back Better.”
Bruce Katz, Ben Preis and Colin Higgins · February 11
We spent much of last year detailing how the COVID-19 crisis has decimated small businesses, especially Black– and Latino-owned businesses, which have long faced challenging headwinds in the US economy. In order to address these challenges, a group came together to author Big Ideas for Small Business, emphasizing the need for transformative action by the federal government, the financial industry, states, localities, corporations, and other private institutions to reshape our economy so that it works for small businesses, especially Black-, Latino-, and Women-owned businesses.
Bruce Katz, Victoria Orozco, Domenika Lynch and Colin Higgins · January 28
The COVID-19 pandemic is a powerful mirror for the current state of U.S. society. It has exposed deep, structural racial and ethnic disparities on income, health and wealth, and barriers to social mobility in the country. In so doing, it has devastated Latino-owned and Black-owned businesses in the U.S., exacerbating what were already substantial gaps in the number, size and growth potential of these firms. It has also catalyzed broader support for racial justice and inclusion across America — recently illustrated by President Biden’s Executive Orders on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government and preserving and fortifying DACA.