Despite recession fears, Pittsburgh businesses see steady demand - 90.5 WESA

On today’s episode of The Confluence:

Survey into businesses conditions in Southwestern Pennsylvania shows demand for goods is strong, though there’s some seasonal variation
(0:00 - 7:08)

Speculation about the country’s economic outlook has some concerned that the country could be heading toward another recession, and as the summer is coming to a close, what could this mean, heading into the fall, for businesses in the Pittsburgh region?

“We cannot really claim that Pittsburgh has some special protection against the recession,” says Vera Krekanova, chief research officer for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development (ACCD). “From March, about 70% of people were really worried about inflation… Obviously businesses understand that that's enormous pressure, but we still see fairly strong demand for goods and services.”

The ACCD just released the results of the latest business conditions, a quarterly survey given to 40 companies representative of key economic sectors.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules in favor of mail-in ballots
(7:14 - 14:12)

On a 5-2 vote, Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the state’s mail-in-voting law- Act 77. The ruling rejects the belief of Republican state lawmakers who argued that the law violated the state constitution, despite some petitioners voting for the law in 2019.

The Supreme Court’s Democratic majority argued the law can stand because the constitution does not expressly prohibit mail-in ballots. Despite this ruling, another separate lawsuit might still invalidate the law.

“Maybe the US Supreme Court steps in or not, [it’s] hard to say,” says Stephen Caruso, capitol reporter for SpotlightPA. “You can apply online [for a mail-in ballot] right now if you want… But I think there is still a little bit of legal uncertainty because there's this extra case that's sitting out there.”

After losing this court battle, Republican lawmakers now want to take the challenge to the ballot box. According to Caruso, lawmakers have said that they hope to propose a constitutional amendment, in the vein of their proposed voter-ID amendment, where voters could decide the constitutionality of mail-in ballots. Such an amendment has yet to be introduced.

The newly-renovated August Wilson House is opening as a public arts space
(14:15 - 22:30)

On August 13, the late Pittsburgh playwright August Wilson’s childhood home will be opened to the public. The house, located in the Hill District, was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 2013, but was left dilapidated until a recent restoration by the Daisy Wilson Artist Community.

The house is set to be a space for local artists, with two rooms left as a museum to honor Wilson. According to Chris Rawson, a friend of Wilson’s and August Wilson House board member, the playwright wanted the space to be made “useful.”

“It’s 14 rooms in this whole elaborate house,” says Rawson. “It’s going to be room for classes, panel discussions, for all I know, fomenting the next revolution.”

Tickets for the grand opening can be purchased online.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.