Friday Facts and Figures: February 22, 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.
Sign up here.


Last year New Jersey became the tenth state in the nation to expand financial aid access to undocumented students. Out of 1,209 applicants, 513 students have been granted aid for the 2018-2019 school year. This program gives undocumented students a real shot at earning college degree and will put them on a path toward economic prosperity, benefitting their families, communities, and the broader state economy. The total cost of the state aid — $1.6 million — is nominal compared to what state and local governments have already invested in the primary education of these same students, as well as the return on investment associated with having a highly educated workforce. [NJ Spotlight]


While New Jersey continues to be a golden door for immigrants, they are under constant attack by the Trump administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In 2018, ICE made 159,000 total arrests, with about half  — 76,204 — as a result of traffic offenses. Expanding access to driver’s licenses to all residents, regardless of immigration status, would act as a safeguard against the further separation of families, while empowering immigrants with more transportation options. Driver’s license expansion would also ensure more drivers are trained, tested and insured, which benefits everyone on the road. [Voices of America / Ramon Taylor]


Earlier this week Governor Murphy signed landmark legislation to expand New Jersey’s paid family leave program. The new law doubles the maximum paid leave period to 12 weeks, allowing workers to take ample  time off after childbirth or to care for a family member. The bill also increases the weekly maximum benefit to $860 and expands the definition of family to include siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, parents-in-law, and chosen family. [ / Nicholas Pugliese]


The Walton family earns more in one minute — $25,149 — than Walmart workers earn in an entire year, according to the Fact Checker team at the Washington Post. How? The Walton family owns a majority of Walmart’s publicly traded shares and earns a cumulative $3.1 billion per year in dividends alone, not counting salaries, director’s fees, and more. The average Walmart worker, meanwhile, earns between $20,738 and $24,960 a year, assuming they work full time and do not take any days off. [Washington Post / Glenn Kessler]


Legislative leaders and Governor Murphy have reached a deal on the legalization of recreational marijuana! The agreement centered on the tax and regulatory framework of the legal market, with all parties agreeing to a flat tax of $42 per ounce. Taxing legal cannabis by weight, as opposed to a sales tax, will ensure revenue from the legal market remains stable, regardless of price fluctuations. [Asbury Park Press / Mike Davis]


NJPP’s outgoing president, Gordon MacInnes, sat down with Steve Adubato for an exit interview where he reflects on tax policy, good governance, and his 55-plus year career in the public interest. Thank you, Gordon, for your leadership at NJPP and your tireless advocacy for a stronger and more equitable Garden State! [NJPP]

Have a fact or figure for us? Tweet it to @NJPolicy.