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Treasury’s final American Rescue Plan guidance means it’s time for local leaders to invest in an inclusive future

Ten months after the passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), local officials across the United States continue to possess significant opportunities to deploy the act’s $350 billion in flexible Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal…



By Alan Berube, Eli Byerly-Duke

Ten months after the passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), local officials across the United States continue to possess significant opportunities to deploy the act’s $350 billion in flexible Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) to address critical priorities. And last week, these leaders received final guidance on how to use this massive investment to build an inclusive future for their communities.

Back in May 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury published an interim final rule laying out permitted SLFRF uses, and invited feedback from local officials and other experts. It provided state and local officials with guidance on four statutorily prescribed uses: responding to COVID-19’s public health and economic impacts; providing premium pay; investing in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure; and replacing lost public sector revenue.

Subsequently, cities, counties, and states issued preliminary reports detailing how they intended to use SLFRF dollars. However, as we observed last fall, the lack of a final rule from Treasury on implementing the program may have discouraged some cities from making firm decisions about how they would use their funding allocations, as they awaited clarifications or assurances regarding eligible activities.

So it was welcome news on January 6 when Treasury issued the final SLFRF rule, which will officially take effect on April 1, 2022. The final rule provides useful clarifications in some areas (including a helpful Treasury overview), and substantive expansions of eligible activities in others. Critically, if an activity was eligible according to the interim rule, it almost certainly remains eligible in the final rule.

Notably, the final rule provides local officials with important new guidance on using the funds to support public sector operations. This includes establishing a $10 million floor for classifying funds as revenue replacement—most relevant for small jurisdictions—and allowing recipients to hire or rehire government employees above pre-pandemic baseline staff levels. (The National League of Cities [NLC] highlighted 10 important takeaways from the new rule for city leaders, and the National Association of Counties [NACo] provided a detailed breakdown of what’s new and notable in the rule.)

As we saw throughout the past year, many larger cities and counties remain eager to use SLFRF dollars not only to provide needed relief to families and communities still suffering from COVID-19’s impacts, but also to invest in people and places to address preexisting challenges that exacerbated the pandemic’s negative effects. We’ll be exploring these priorities in a new Local Rescue Plan Tracker, launching in late January in partnership with NLC and NACo. For now, the final rule provides helpful direction and encouragement for local leaders to invest in the present and future of lower-income families and communities.

State and local governments can provide a range of economic aid to impacted people and places

Treasury’s final rule provides additional clarification on eligible recipients of SLFRF economic aid. In general, states and localities can provide aid only to individuals and households that suffered economically due to the pandemic. As the interim rule outlined, evidence abounds that lower-income people and places faced negative economic impacts from the pandemic, both because they worked in jobs more vulnerable to public health measures (e.g., hospitality and retail) and because they had preexisting challenges that exacerbated the pandemic’s toll (e.g., unsafe housing, lack of reliable internet access or high-quality health care).

While states and localities must generally document that recipients of SLFRF economic aid suffered due to the pandemic, Treasury’s final rule stipulates that they can presume those impacts for low- and moderate-income individuals (those in families with incomes under 300% of the federal poverty line, or roughly $66,000 for a family of three), as well as individuals who qualify for certain federal benefits such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or child care subsidies. For these individuals and households, the final rule enumerates a range of assistance types that states and localities can use SLFRF dollars to provide, such as food, housing, health insurance, job training, financial services, child care, broadband subsidies, and cash assistance. Essentially, most any state or local program that provides direct economic help to lower-income people is an eligible SLFRF use.

The interim rule identified an additional class of individuals and communities that suffered “disproportionate” negative impacts from the pandemic due to underlying economic distress. The final rule clarifies that to help these people and places, states and localities can make eligible SLFRF investments in both local services and the physical environment, including medical clinics and community health workers; removal of lead paint and other environmental remediation; improvements to vacant land and properties; and school-based facilities and services. These households and communities must have incomes (or median incomes, in the case of neighborhoods) below 185% of the federal poverty line, or roughly $40,000. The final rule maintains the interim rule’s simplifying assumption that all households living in Qualified Census Tracts (QCTs) have suffered disproportionate impact.

Thus, many types of investments that happen under the heading of “community economic development” constitute eligible SLFRF uses, although recipients must provide some additional documentation to Treasury regarding significant capital expenditures. In this way, the final rule provides a green light to local officials seeking to invest in the long-run economic revitalization of lower-income neighborhoods.

States and localities have increased latitude to invest in small business recovery, especially in lower-income neighborhoods

Many SLFRF recipients have already dedicated a portion of their funds to assist small businesses that lost significant revenues during the pandemic. Detroit and Louisville, Ky., among many other cities, committed substantial SLFRF aid to small business recovery.

For aid to small businesses, Treasury’s final SLFRF rule clarifies a rubric similar to that for individuals, households, and communities. “Impacted” small businesses and nonprofits include those that suffered revenue declines, increased costs, or other cost challenges (rent, payroll, etc.) due to the pandemic. States and localities can provide grants, loans, and technical assistance through SLFRF to small businesses that can demonstrate such impacts.

State and local programs that distribute SLFRF dollars can further presume that small businesses and nonprofits were “disproportionately impacted” by the pandemic if they are located in QCTs. Similar to economic aid for disproportionately impacted people and places, states and localities may invest in the physical rehabilitation of these businesses and nonprofits, and the corridors in which they concentrate.

For microbusinesses (businesses with five or fewer employees, which grew substantially during the pandemic), officials may provide subsidies to offset costs such as transportation and child care. And recognizing the preexisting barriers to business formation and success in these neighborhoods, they may also support small business startup and expansion costs. In these ways, SLFRF dollars can “juice” support for entrepreneurs in lower-income communities, building on complementary ARP programs such as the State Small Business Credit Initiative.

It’s time for state and local leaders to act

Uncertainty about where the final rules would land on several key issues—and when the COVID-19 pandemic would subside—have understandably led many cities and counties to delay committing ARP dollars. Indeed, that uncertainty remains with respect to COVID-19’s prevalence.

Nevertheless, the arrival of Treasury’s final rule means that now is the time for cities, counties, and states to commit to comprehensive relief and rebuilding plans aided by SLFRF dollars. The clock is ticking: The rule confirms the statutory directive that recipients must obligate the funds by the end of 2024 and fully expend them by the end of 2026. Despite some local hopes to the contrary, it does not permit states and localities to deposit the funds into revolving finance vehicles that would extend their impact further into the future (although they can use SLFRF funds to cover the subsidy costs of longer-term loans issued from revolving vehicles).

As Brookings Metro argued in a recent piece, the ARP opportunity is now knocking for local governments. Strategic jurisdictions will use that opportunity to choose a limited number of areas for sustained, transformative impact—leveraging relationships and building capacity both inside and outside government to foster the conditions for a broad and equitable recovery. The moment demands nothing less.

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Peppercomm Named Public Relations Agency of Record for AgriFORCE

Peppercomm Named Public Relations Agency of Record for AgriFORCE
PR Newswire
NEW YORK, Aug. 18, 2022

AgTech innovator taps integrated communications and marketing agency to drive global growth and brand awareness
NEW YORK, Aug. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire…



Peppercomm Named Public Relations Agency of Record for AgriFORCE

PR Newswire

AgTech innovator taps integrated communications and marketing agency to drive global growth and brand awareness

NEW YORK, Aug. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Peppercomm, award-winning, strategic and integrated communications and marketing agency, today announced it has been named global PR agency of record for AgriFORCE Growing Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: AGRI; AGRIW), an AgTech company dedicated to advancing sustainable cultivation and crop processing to yield more nutritious food with limited environmental impact. AgriFORCE selected Peppercomm following a competitive evaluation of several firms.

Headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, AgriFORCE is poised to disrupt the agriculture industry by building a portfolio of proprietary AgTech solutions to help growers achieve higher quality and more sustainably produced crops, alongside branded products and ingredients that unlock superior nutrition for consumers. With an agreement to acquire Delphy Group BV and a binding LOI to acquire Deroose Plants NV recently announced, the company's strategic and holistic approach aims to address key challenges facing the agriculture industry.

"We're pleased to work with a company that can have a real impact on our food and our planet," said Steve Cody, CEO of Peppercomm. "The global pandemic and Russian invasion of Ukraine have significantly affected the food supply chain and accelerated the need for solutions to address these extraordinary challenges. AgriFORCE's IP and expertise are coming to the marketplace at just the right time."

Peppercomm will help AgriFORCE build global brand awareness through an integrated approach that includes strategic counsel, messaging development, thought leadership, earned media and social media, and digital advertising. 

"AgriFORCE is excited to partner with Peppercomm as our agency of record," shared Mauro Pennella, President of AgriFORCE Brands and CMO of AgriFORCE Growing Systems. "Peppercomm has strong experience across agriculture, agtech, and consumer brands, including public companies with multinational operations. We are confident that their tight-knit and senior team, with existing industry and media relationships, can bring to life the vision and purpose of AgriFORCE in the months ahead."

About Peppercomm
Peppercomm is an award-winning strategic, integrated communications and marketing agency headquartered in New York City with offices in San Francisco and London. The firm, which was recently acquired by Ruder Finn, combines 27 award-winning years of expertise serving blue chip and breakout clients with forward-thinking new service offerings and the freshness of a start-up. This unique mix of experience and energy enables the firm to attract and empower teams with a creative edge, drive, and passion for promoting, protecting, and connecting clients in a fast-changing marketplace. Founded in 1995, Peppercomm has received numerous accolades, including Crain's Best Places to Work in NYC 2021, PRWeek's Best Places to Work 2020, the Agency Elite 100, SABRE Award (Integrated Campaign), PRSA Big Apple (2020, 2019 Winner Integrated Campaign), Platinum PR Awards (Media Relations), PRNews Digital Awards (CSR), the Bulldog PR Awards (Media Relations) and PR Daily's Top Agencies of 2022 among others. For more information visit

About AgriFORCE
AgriFORCE Growing Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: AGRI; AGRIW) is an AgTech company focused on the development and acquisition of crop production know-how and intellectual property augmented by advanced AgTech facilities and solutions. Looking to serve the global market, the Company's current focus is on North America, Europe, and Asia. The AgriFORCE vision is to be a leader in delivering plant-based foods and products through advanced and sustainable AgTech solution platforms that make positive change in the world—from seed to table. The AgriFORCE goal: Clean. Green. Better. Additional information about AgriFORCE is available at:

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PR Newswire
NEW YORK, Aug. 18, 2022

66% of consumers are more mindful of spending on groceries85% of …




PR Newswire

  • 66% of consumers are more mindful of spending on groceries
  • 85% of Americans are concerned or very concerned about inflation
  • 58%  believe the cost of living will be more expensive in the coming year
  • 46% of consumers say they're buying fewer non-essentials
  • 43% seek out sales and promotions to afford their favorite brands 

NEW YORK, Aug. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly half of Americans (45%) feel like they can't afford their previous lifestyle and 76% of American consumers say their family has changed how they buy food with prices on the rise. In addition, two-thirds (66%) are more mindful of how they are spending their money. These findings are part of a new consumer sentiment survey on inflation commissioned by NCSolutions (NCS), the leading company for improving advertising effectiveness.

Eighty-five percent of Americans are very concerned or extremely concerned about inflation and almost unanimously (93%) they said we're in an inflationary time. On the same economic theme, over half (57%) are concerned about the country's financial situation, while 47% say they're concerned about their family's financial situation. Eight out of 10 or 83% of Americans expect the cost of living will become somewhat more or much more expensive in the coming year. Sixty-five percent of Americans agree with the statement 'my income has not increased as fast at the cost of food, beverage and personal care products.'

"For the second time in a little over two years, consumers are pivoting to new purchasing behaviors at the grocery store," commented Alan Miles, CEO, NCSolutions. "Since the start of the pandemic, they've been swapping their favorite brands for what's available. Today, though, value is the centerpiece more often than availability, consumers are selecting brands and products to stretch their budgets as far as possible. CPG brands that meet customers where they are both in this inflationary moment and as prices ease have the best shot at keeping them for the long-term."

NCSolutions' proprietary purchase data, which reflects the buying trends of consumers for CPG products, shows an almost 13% price increase on average. In a six-year price trend analysis, we see that price increases in 2022 are pacing at an accelerated rate compared to other years.  The survey findings bear this out with 58% of consumers believing the cost of living will be much more expensive in the coming year and 71% feeling the U.S. economy is declining. 

Six-year Inflation Trend


Percentage Inflation Change Year-Over-Year

On a consumer packaged goods category level, there are wide variations in percentage increases.

Compared to one year ago, six in 10 Americans believe CPG product packaging has gotten smaller but costs the same. Consumers still feel the strain of supply chain issues as 69% say there are fewer items of the same product on the shelves. Thirty-six percent of Americans said there is less variety of  brands available on the shelf today compared with one year ago.

Over half (53%) of American consumers say they find basic food staples more expensive; 40% believe a recession will occur in 2023. For almost half of consumers (46%), this means buying fewer non-essential items on the food aisle, or for 43%, it means buying only the essentials.  Seventy-one percent of Americans say the increased price of groceries is straining their savings. For other American consumers, increased prices on the grocery aisle mean seeking out less expensive brands (45%).  Other ways consumers are coping with the increased price of groceries are loading up the pantry (27%) or freezer (26%) or shopping closer to home (24%).

When it comes to consumers' preferred brands, they have to make tough choices. Sixty percent of consumers seek less expensive alternatives when their favorite brands reach a price beyond their budget. Forty-six percent of consumers plan to go without their favorite brands, and 43% of consumers look for sales to offset the cost. In the survey, respondents could select multiple ways they react.

June 2021 vs. June 2022: Inflation Increases by category

"Though it may be tempting to pull back on advertising, a more effective strategy is to recognize and respond to consumer 'stress-flation.' Brands have an opportunity now to build loyalty and attract new customers with empathetic marketing," said Leslie Wood, Chief Research Officer, NCSolutions. "We're heading into a period of heavy CPG purchasing moments, such as back to school and the approaching holidays. Compelling, well-targeted advertising is a proven strategy for increasing brand equity and sales both in the short- and long-term."

Respondents were asked, "When shopping for groceries, which products are most important." The majority ranked:

  1. Affordable products that provide a clear value for my money 
  2. Finding food products that feed their families for several meals
  3. Products they know their families will enjoy eating

ABOUT THE CONSUMER SURVEY: The online survey of 2,141 respondents was fielded from June 17- 20, 2022.  Responses presented in this survey were weighted by location, education, income and other demographics to be representative of the overall population. To read more about the findings, you can download the full report

NCSolutions makes advertising work better. Our unrivaled data resources powered by leading providers combine with scientific rigor and leading-edge technology to empower the CPG ecosystem to create and deliver more effective advertising. With NCS's proven approach, brands achieve continuous optimization everywhere ads appear through purchase-based audience targeting and sales measurement solutions that have impacted billions in media spend for our customers. NCS is a joint venture company with  Nielsen as the majority owner. 

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Legal Services Sourcing and Procurement Market by 2025| COVID-19 Impact & Recovery Analysis | SpendEdge

Legal Services Sourcing and Procurement Market by 2025| COVID-19 Impact & Recovery Analysis | SpendEdge
PR Newswire
NEW YORK, Aug. 18, 2022

NEW YORK, Aug. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The “Legal Services Market” report has been added to SpendEdge’s…



Legal Services Sourcing and Procurement Market by 2025| COVID-19 Impact & Recovery Analysis | SpendEdge

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Aug. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The "Legal Services Market" report has been added to SpendEdge's library which is trusted by more than 100 CPOs and 500 category managers who use our insights daily.

The Legal Services market is poised to grow by USD 187.38 Billion, progressing at a CAGR of almost 3.64% during the forecast period

Key Highlights Offered in the Report:

  • Information on how to identify strategic and tactical negotiation levels that will help achieve the best prices.
  • Gain information on relevant pricing levels, and a detailed explanation of the pros and cons of prevalent pricing models.
  • Methods to help engage with the right suppliers and discover KPIs to evaluate incumbent suppliers.

Fetch actionable market insights on the post-COVID-19 impact on each product and service segment.

Some of the Top Legal Services suppliers listed in this report:

This Legal Services procurement intelligence report has enlisted the top suppliers and their cost structures, SLA terms, best selection criteria, and negotiation strategies.

  • Latham and Watkins
  • Allen and Overy
  • Hogan Lovells

Fetch actionable market insights on the post-COVID-19 impact on each product and service segment:

Top Selling Report:

  1. Asset Recovery Services - Forecast and AnalysisThe asset recovery services will grow at a CAGR of 9.49% during 2021-2025. Asia Asset Recovery Pte Ltd., TES-Amm Singapore Pte Ltd., and Iron Mountain Inc. are among the prominent suppliers in the asset recovery services market. Click the above link to download the free sample of this report.
  2. Vulnerability Management Sourcing and Procurement ReportVulnerability Management Procurement Market, prices will increase by 4%-6% during the forecast period and suppliers will have moderate bargaining power in this market. Click the above link to download the free sample of this report.
  3. Business Process Outsourcing Services- Sourcing and Procurement Intelligence ReportThis report offers key advisory and intelligence to help buyers identify and shortlist the most suitable suppliers for their Legal Services. Click the above link to download the free sample of this report.

To access the definite purchasing guide on the Legal Services that answers all your key questions on price trends and analysis:

  • Am I paying/getting the right prices? Is my Legal Services TCO (total cost of ownership) favorable?
  • How is the price forecast expected to change? What is driving the current and future price changes?
  • Which pricing models offer the most rewarding opportunities?

Register for a free trial today and gain instant access to 1,200+ market research reports.
SpendEdge's SUBSCRIPTION platform

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Market Insights
  • Category Pricing Insights
  • Cost-saving Opportunities
  • Best Practices
  • Category Ecosystem
  • Category Management Strategy
  • Category Management Enablers
  • Suppliers Selection
  • Suppliers under Coverage
  • US Market Insights
  • Category scope
  • Appendix

About SpendEdge:

SpendEdge shares your passion for driving sourcing and procurement excellence. We are the preferred procurement market intelligence partner for 120+ Fortune 500 firms and other leading companies across numerous industries. Our strength lies in delivering robust, real-time procurement market intelligence reports and solutions.


Anirban Choudhury
Marketing Manager
Ph No:
+1 (872) 206-9340

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