Friday Facts and Figures: August 2, 2019

Friday Facts and Figures is a brief digital newsletter focusing on data points from NJPP reports, research, and policy debates in New Jersey and beyond.
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68

The Economic Development Authority (EDA) is holding off tax credit payments to 68 companies as the agency ensures each one is compliant with its corporate subsidy agreement. The added scrutiny is meant to address the lax oversight and improper awarding of tax breaks outlined in the state Comptroller’s scathing audit of the EDA. The sum of the delayed payments is not yet known, but the same 68 corporations were paid $175.5 million last year for taxes paid in 2017. The laws guiding New Jersey’s corporate subsidy programs expired on July 1 as Governor Murphy has yet to act on an extension passed by lawmakers in June. The governor has signaled he will veto the bill as it does not include any meaningful reforms. [NJ BIZ / Daniel Munoz]


68,000

Approximately 68,000 New Jersey residents would lose all of their food assistance — including both food stamps and free school breakfasts and lunches for children — ​under a new proposal by the Trump administration. NJPP Health Policy Director Ray Castro slammed the proposal as “an incredibly cruel policy.” Specifically, it would put an end to states using higher eligibility standards that better reflect their high cost of living. Like the 2017 Trump tax cuts, the proposal would disproportionately harm New Jersey residents, and the cuts would also cost the state $33 million in benefits, which then wouldn’t be spent at grocery stores in every corner of the state. [NJ.com / Jonathan D. Salant]


$65,000

New Jersey’s free community college program will reach more students thanks to changes made in this year’s state budget. Last year, students could qualify for the Community College Opportunity Grant (CCOG) if their family income was $45,000 a year or less. The threshold is now $65,000, and the program has also been expanded to all 19 community colleges in the state. The CCOG operates as a last-dollar scholarship, meaning it covers tuition expenses after other federal and state grants are applied. [MyCentralJersey.com / Susan Loyer]


$1 Billion

Good news for commuters into New York City — the PATH will invest $1 billion to improve rail service, ease congestion, and reduce delays. A new signal system will allow trains to run more frequently, additional rail cars will increase capacity on each train, and expanded platforms will reduce crowding. These improvements will increase PATH capacity by 40 percent on the Newark to World Trade Center line and 20 percent on remaining lines. New technology and changes in operating procedures should also limit delays and improve customer service. These improvements are critical for the PATH to continue serving over 81 million riders per year. [NJ.com / Kevin O’Toole and Rick Cotton]


17

The 2020 Census is right around the corner and there’s a lot on the line for New Jersey. A full count is necessary for the state to have fair representation in Congress, accurate congressional and state legislative districts, and adequate federal funding. This is all at risk due to a lack of federal funding for outreach and the Trump administration’s failed attempt to add a citizenship question to the form. These two decisions threaten to reduce participation, especially among immigrants, mixed-status families, communities of color, and people in poverty. Fortunately, New Jersey is one of seventeen states to both fund census outreach and establish a statewide complete count commission. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities / Samantha Waxman]


ICYMI

This week marked the 54th anniversary of two critical, government-sponsored health care programs: Medicare and Medicaid. In New Jersey, 1.6 million elderly residents are covered by Medicare, while Medicaid covers 1.7 million low- to moderate-income adults and children. These two programs provide millions of families across the country with quality health coverage, protecting them from medical debt and allowing them to stay healthy and engaged in their communities. Happy birthday, Medicare and Medicaid! [NJ Spotlight / Richard Keevey]


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