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This report is based on the results of a scientific, national phone survey of 555 owners of small businesses (2 to 99 employees) conducted in June 2014. The survey found that clear majorities of small business owners are concerned about how climate change will affect their companies, including its impact on energy costs, health care costs and the infrastructure they depend on. Survey respondents voiced strong support for government action to address climate change, specifically, efforts to limit carbon pollution from power plants which produce a third of all U.S. carbon emissions. Significantly, a plurality (43%) of business owners surveyed self- identified as either Republican or Republican-leaning Independent.
To develop a more comprehensive assessment, this report takes a closer look at both benefits and costs of drilling activity in Carroll County, Ohio. It is designed to help local government officials and community stakeholders in neighboring counties anticipate what to expect as activity unfolds in their own communities. We hope to shed light and promote discussion around maximizing benefits while minimizing costs of shale development with public policies that can help balance these interests.
The Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative, of which Policy Matters Ohio is a member, has released case studies examining the impacts of shale oil and gas drilling on four active drilling communities — Carroll County, Ohio; Greene and Tioga counties, Pennsylvania; and Wetzel County, West Virginia.
Highlights from two recent studies suggest that ranked choice voting (RCV) has been embraced by voters and candidates alike, who see it as a means of reducing divisive politics and fostering more positive, inclusive, and informative campaigns. One key finding: Candidates who participated in RCV elections were significantly less likely to claim that they had been portrayed or described negatively by their opponents, or to admit that they had portrayed an opponent negatively.
In exchange for large tax breaks, not-for-profit hospitals are required to provide programs, services, or other resources to address community health needs through “community benefit” activities. These include grants to community-based organizations, charity care (free or reduced- cost services for low-income individuals) and the un- or under-reimbursed costs of care for patients on Medicaid (called Medi-Cal in California) and other government programs. When a hospital receives not-for-profit status, it enters a pact with the public that it will provide community benefits in exchange for its tax exemption, but this exchange is not equal. Studies of community benefit programs show that the financial benefit hospitals get by not paying taxes greatly exceeds the amount of funds they invest in community benefit activities. In California, not-for-profit hospitals received $3.27 billion in total government subsidies and benefits, while only providing $1.43 billion in community benefit in 2010 alone. Questions have also been raised regarding how not-for-profit hospitals account for their community benefit investments and how these activities relate to the most pressing community health needs.
The built environment accounts for approximately half the energy use and carbon footprint of the United States. Lean Buildings reduce energy flows by tapping basic natural heating and cooling techniques and renewable energy sources in ways that are region-specific and climate-sensitive. This paper offers strategies to reduce material and energy consumption, including the use of local and recycled materials, heavy insulation, building orientation, passive solar systems, and dense urban configurations. Issues of energy quantity and quality, energy codes and metrics, as well as building size and configuration, are also discussed.
Charrettes are collaborative meetings where all project stakeholders come together for a period of focused planning activity in order to resolve conflicts and map solutions. Charrettes are highly effective tools for planning and public engagement, but may be too expensive to fit into a project’s budget especially when the goal of a project is to make “small possible”. Lean Charrette reduce necessary time and resources by breaking the process into manageable increments with less top-down intervention, creating more opportunities for action and input. Lean charrettes maintain the inclusionary approach to creating shared narratives and transparent decision making of the standard process, while introducing benefits of efficiency and continuity associated with the compressed time frame.
Small residential and commercial rental properties owned by individual landlords are important to the diversity and adaptability of cities as a whole. The owners of small rental properties face challenges, many due to economies of scale, in areas like energy efficiency and building management. In the United States, more than two-thirds of unsubsidized rental housing units are owned by individual landlords, and small buildings make up most urban neighborhoods; further, neighborhoods with small lots and buildings are more dense, and contain more jobs and businesses per square foot compared to neighborhoods dominated by large properties. Owners of small properties can improve their economic performance and the quality of their properties by investing in professional management, by buying buildings that are close to each other, standardize appliances and fixtures across units, and investing in technology like internet-connected water meters, thermostats, and irrigation control.
The U.S. housing market has seen significant transformation in the last few years, calling for a return of smaller, more efficient dwellings. Design and construction principles from places like the Philippines where pragmatic building practices employing simple construction methods with local, readily available materials are more common may offer useful techniques for developing Lean Housing in the United States.
Identifies and contextualizes the individual and larger effects of transit deserts in Cook County, where communities lack of mobility options and access to high quality transit despite having a high demand for transit options.