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July 26, 2019

 

Rural Partners is inviting everyone to its 30th Anniversary Celebration, August 20, at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield. Join us for the program and panel presentation beginning at 1:30 p.m. And even if you cannot attend the afternoon panels, attend the reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at the museum. Refreshments will be served and we have access to museum exhibits during the reception. There is no cost to attend, but please RSVP to info@ruralpartners.org by August 12, 2019. This panel presentation and reception is part of the annual conference of Partners for Rural America, the national network of state rural development councils. Illinois Rural Partners is hosting the conference. Help Rural Partners celebrate 30 years of serving Illinois!

 

 
 

Brian Whitacre, University of Oklahoma and Steven Deller, University of Wisconsin, report that a 10% increase in the percentage of residents with access to 200 kbps would increase the average housing value by $661 in that county. Estimates for faster speeds are somewhat lower, around $230 – $250 for 10 – 25 Mbps. These may not seem like massive numbers, but when applied to the average number of households in each county, they add up to significant increases in property values, which would likely have meaningful impacts on county property tax collections. The researchers estimate that annual property tax collections could increase from $25,000 – $65,000 in these counties, which could be significant for rural areas that often struggle to fund local services. In their study, Whitacre and Deller used 2016 data from all 887 "remote rural" U.S. counties --- those that are not adjacent to a metropolitan area, and combined it with broadband availability data.

 

 
 

USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) serves as an automatic stabilizer for the economy. For example, during an economic downturn, when unemployment increases and wages fall, more individuals become eligible for SNAP and enroll in the program. As SNAP participants spend this increased Federal assistance, income is generated for those involved in producing, transporting, and marketing the food and other goods purchased by SNAP recipients. The impact of this increased spending by SNAP households “multiplies” throughout the economy as the businesses supplying the food and other goods—and their employees—have additional funds to make purchases of their own. This multiplier effect on the economy may extend well beyond the initial money provided to SNAP participants.

 

 
 

Oregon’s House Bill 2001, should it be signed by Governor Kate Brown, would eliminate single-family zoning around the state. In cities with more than 25,000 residents, duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, and “cottage clusters” would be allowed on parcels that are currently reserved for single-family houses; in cities of least 10,000, duplexes would be allowed in single-family zones. Oregon would become the first state to ban the century-old practice of reserving land for a single type of residential development, putting it at the head of a nationwide surge in “upzoning.” Pushed by members in the “Yes In My Backyard” (YIMBY) movement and other pro-housing forces, several other urban areas have been similarly seeking zoning reforms to create denser, greener, and more affordable residential units in the face of chronic housing shortages.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

August 9 (Nomination Deadline) - Community Stars

August 12 (Springfield) - Rural Partners 30th Anniversary Celebration

August 12-15 (Moline) - Midwest Community Development Institute

October 25-26 (Dubuque) - Growing Sustainable Communities Conference