Economics in Brief: Philly Public Bank Project Sees a Major Obstacle

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Economics in Brief: Philly Public Bank Project Sees a Major Obstacle

Also, a new California law will decriminalize sex worker loitering.

Philadelphia City Hall

Philadelphia City Hall (Photo by ByteForByte / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Philly Public Banking Advocates Call Out Mayor For Lack of Support

The Philadelphia Public Banking Coalition has condemned the city’s mayor for “sabotaging” an effort to create the nation’s first municipal public bank. In a letter to City Council, Mayor Jim Kenney refused to provide funding for the Philadelphia Public Financial Authority. Establishing the entity, per a bill passed near-unanimously by the council, would allow the city to create a landmark public bank.

Kenney further said he would prevent the authority from operating by refusing to appoint board members if the City Council provided funding through the city budget or a transfer ordinance.

“When the PPFA spins off a Philadelphia Public Bank, as the Mayor knows is intended, it could help revitalize communities that have been the victims of racist banking policies for generations,” Stan Shapiro, a member of the Philadelphia Public Banking Coalition, said in a statement. “But the Mayor is standing in the way.”

Philadelphia’s public bank may be stalled, but there’s clear national momentum behind the idea. Public banks are currently being proposed or are under active consideration in New York City, Massachusetts and the East Bay.

California’s Repeal of Anti-Loitering Law May Help Protect Sex Workers

A new law that will go into effect in California next year will decriminalize loitering for the purpose of prostitution, KCRW reports, a move activists say could reduce law enforcement harassment and arrests of women of color and trans women.

The Safer Streets for All Act, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, repeals an existing misdemeanor law that has been called “the walking while trans law.” Sex workers are frequently profiled and harassed by law enforcement officers for how they are dressed while standing the streets, leading to racial profiling, anti-LGBTQ harassment, and a loss of trust in law enforcement by sex workers. Many sex workers fear that they will get arrested if they go to the authorities to report crimes.

While far from full sex work decriminalization, activists say the move could potentially lead to “thousands” of fewer arrests yearly, according to KCRW. Having an arrest record from loitering can make it harder for sex workers to get jobs and housing. The new legislation also allows anyone convicted of loitering a way to potentially have their case dismissed and sealed, The Hill reports.

Global Report: Women in Healthcare Earn 24% Less Than Men

An analysis of women working in the healthcare sector internationally found that wages for women are overall 24% lower than for men.

The report by the International Labour Organization and the World Health Organization examined data from 54 nations spanning a wide range of incomes and regions. As reported by the medical publisher BMJ, the study discovered a gender pay difference of about 20% that increased to 24% when accounting for age, education and working hours. Researchers noted the gender pay gap in healthcare was higher than other industries, which they attributed to a feminization of the sector.

“The health and care sector has endured low pay in general, stubbornly large gender pay gaps, and very demanding working conditions,” Manuela Tomei of the International Labour Organization told BMJ. “The covid-19 pandemic clearly exposed this situation while also demonstrating how vital the sector and its workers are in keeping families, societies, and economies going.”

This article is part of The Bottom Line, a series exploring scalable solutions for problems related to affordability, inclusive economic growth and access to capital. Click here to subscribe to our Bottom Line newsletter. The Bottom Line is made possible with support from Citi.

Shania DeGroot is an Emma Bowen Foundation Fellow with Next City for summer 2022.

Aysha Khan is senior editor at Next City.

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