Bruce Katz, Michael Saadine and Colin Higgins · April 1
Saving Small Business: Supersize the Local Role

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to wreak havoc on small businesses across the country, local and national actors have begun to realize the enormity of the economic challenge at hand. Shortly after a record high 3.3 million in weekly unemployment claims were announced, President Trump signed the CARES Act into law. The race to save our small businesses is on, and it promises to be a challenging one.

Bruce Katz and Ben Speggen · March 25
Why Erie’s Downtown is a Proxy for the Nation

The impact of COVID-19 on small businesses and the places where they co-locate and concentrate — downtown, Main Streets, commercial corridors — has been immediate and devastating.

“Almost overnight, downtowns have eerily become lifeless movie sets — literally former shells of their former selves; the buildings are intact (unlike after a flood), but there is little or no business being transacted given the imperative of social distancing and the collapse of basic consumerism,” we contend in our new report, “Why Erie’s Downtown is a Proxy for the Nation: The Future of Main Street Businesses amidst the Covid-19 Crisis.” “If we can keep businesses alive, then the bounce back will be rapid and pronounced. If businesses collapse, then the recovery will be slow and painful.”

Bruce Katz, Ross Baird and Colin Higgins · March 18
Rethinking Disaster Relief for Small Businesses

The public health system in the United States, suffering from budget and staffing cuts precipitated by the Great Recession and current administration’s decisions, does not have the capacity to address the coronavirus crisis. We are equally concerned that our current suite of disaster relief and financing programs are unable to respond to the devastating blow dealt to America’s small businesses. Tuesday evening, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin warned that, absent stimulus and intervention, unemployment in the U.S. could reach 20% in the near future.

Bruce Katz and Colin Higgins · March 5
On Billionaires and Trillionaires

It’s hard to avoid the topic of billionaires in Democratic politics these days. Senator Sanders has focused on the 400 wealthiest people who together control $2.9 trillion to justify his agenda of broadly expanding the welfare state. Senator Warren on the other hand, has proposed a wealth tax on households worth more than half-a-billion which would raise $3.25 trillion of federal revenue over the next decade. Vice President Biden, the frontrunner after Super Tuesday, shows less outright hostility to billionaires. Nonetheless, his proposal for raising revenue is similarly oriented to those of Warren and Sanders in focusing on taxing wealth rather than work (especially through capital gain tax increases and closing foreign tax havens).

Bruce Katz and Andrew Petrisin · February 20
Why Ecosystems Matter: Lessons from Cincinnati

In my first newsletter this year, The Year of Advancing Community Wealth, I wrote the following,

“…we need to codify the new governance features and innovative practices used by leading urban institutions and intermediaries so we can speed replication horizontally across cities.”


Bruce Katz · February 6
The Allure of Mayor Pete

On Monday, Iowa gave a significant boost to the candidacy of Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Although the results (incredibly) are not final, Mayor Pete defied recent expectations set by the national media, political pundits and a raft of polls. His performance has prompted me to re-publish an oped that appeared in the Financial Times on December 15, 2019. The opinion piece was my effort to explain how a little-known mayor of a small city could ascend so quickly in in the scrum that is Democratic Party politics.

Bruce Katz · January 23
Climate, Community and Finance

In the early days of this year, we’ve both been heartened by the changing behavior of institutional investors towards climate: divesting from the bad and investing in the good.

Earlier this month, for example, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and London Mayor Sadiq Kahn launched the latest version of their Divest/Invest campaign to persuade cities to move pension fund investments out of fossil fuel industries. A growing number of cities around the world — New York City, London, Auckland, Berlin, Copenhagen, Melbourne, Oslo and Stockholm — have signed on and C40 Cities, the international group now led by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, has released a high quality toolkit to guide city actions.

Bruce Katz · January 9
The Year of Advancing Community Wealth

A New Year is a time to plan, which is always a bit daunting for someone like me who likes to dabble, gets easily distracted and is always captured (if not obsessed) by the new and novel. But I did spend some time during the holiday break thinking about how to make 2020 The Year of Advancing Community Wealth, drawing upon the work that I have been doing with Ross Baird, Rick Jacobs, my colleagues at Drexel and a group of remarkable practitioners and organizations from around the country.

Bruce Katz · December 18
The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative has become a leading workforce model.

I am thrilled to co-author this newsletter with Megan Humes, a Senior Associate with the Centre for Public Impact (CPI), a nonprofit founded by Boston Consulting Group.

For the past several months, Megan and I (ably assisted by Dan Vogel at CPI and guided by Matt Bergheiser and Sarah Steltz at University City District) have conducted a City Case of the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative.

Bruce Katz · November 27
The Most Transformative Project in America

In October 2018 I visited Dayton for the first time as part of an Opportunity Zones effort I had undertaken in partnership with Accelerator for America. I did not know then that Mayor Nan Whaley and Shelley Dickstein, her indefatigable City Manager, had a surprise in store for me. They and their colleagues took me for a tour of the Dayton Arcade, an historical gem that was on the verge of rebirth and renewal.