Friday Facts and Figures: January 11, 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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$11 Billion

Earlier this week the Office of the State Comptroller released its long-awaited audit of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA). The findings echoed what NJPP has been sounding the alarm on since the EDA’s creation: over $11 billion has been awarded in corporate subsidies with virtually no oversight, monitoring, or evidence of actually creating jobs. The EDA may have “improperly awarded, miscalculated, overstated and overpaid” tax credits, all while the state cut funding for critical programs like public education, NJ Transit, the public pension fund, and much more. [NJ.com / Samantha Marcus]


$1.1 Billion

Even if the state reforms its corporate subsidy programs, New Jersey is still on the hook for billions of dollars in tax breaks that were already awarded. In the upcoming fiscal year alone, the state is responsible for $1.1 billion in subsidies from programs monitored by the EDA. According to data from the EDA itself, the state’s subsidy obligation will continue to rise through fiscal year 2022, and maybe longer. [NJPP]


$100 Million

Despite the EDA audit’s findings, the Legislature is still considering a bill that would bailout the state’s horse racing industry with a $100 million subsidy. Under the proposal, the funds would come out of the state’s general fund and be paid out over five years to boost the purses that can be won at horse tracks. Legislators find this subsidy necessary despite the horse racing industry getting a boost just last year when sports-betting was legalized at licensed tracks and casinos. [NJ Spotlight / John Reitmeyer]


54 Percent

A new poll finds that 54 percent of likely 2019 New Jersey voters support expanding access to driver’s licenses to all residents, regardless of immigration status. Support for the proposal is broad and bipartisan, as voters agree that everyone on the road should be trained, tested, and insured. It has been reported that legislators are reluctant to vote on such a proposal in an election year — this poll should alleviate those concerns. [NorthJersey.com / Monsy Alvarado]


40,000

The federal government shutdown — now in day 21 — threatens the housing of 40,000 families receiving rental assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Due to the shutdown, HUD is unable to renew rental assistance contracts with private landlords that expired in December or will expire in January. There are over three million additional households that will impacted if the shutdown extends into February or March, as funding for other critical HUD programs will lapse. More than two-thirds of households utilizing these programs are seniors or people with disabilities. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities / Douglas Rice]


ICYMI

Thousands of New Jersey families received a boost in cash assistance right in time for the holidays, writes NJPP health policy director Raymond Castro in an 0p-ed in The Record. Until last month, New Jersey’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefit — $424 a month for a parent with two kids — went without an increase since 1987. NJPP first reported on this issue in 2016, and subsequent efforts to increase the state’s cash assistance program were vetoed by then-Governor Christie. [NorthJersey.com / Raymond Castro]


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