Friday Facts and Figures: January 24, 2020

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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687

This past legislative session was among the most productive in New Jersey history. Governor Murphy signed more bills into law over the last two years, 687, than any governor since 1985. Some major legislation includes raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, enacting paid sick leave, and establishing a state-based health care exchange. In the last year, Governor Murphy signed 518 bills, including 144 this Tuesday alone. [New Jersey 101.5 / Michael Symons]


First

One major bill signed into law on Tuesday guarantees severance pay for workers after mass layoffs. New Jersey is the first state in the nation to enact such a law, which was prompted by the recent closure of Toys R Us. In the event of mass layoffs or a plant closure, the new law requires businesses with 100 or more full-time employees pay their workers one week of severance pay for every year they were employed by the company. The law also requires that companies give their workers 90 days notice of mass layoffs before they happen. [NPR / Vanessa Romo]


2.5 Times

Millions of workers across the country, including hundreds of thousands in New Jersey, are working overtime and not getting paid for it. Why? Because the right to overtime pay has eroded over the last 70 years as the pay threshold was never raised to keep up with inflation. Fortunately, the Murphy administration can fix that. Raising the threshold to 2.5 times the minimum wage — $78,000 by 2024 — would restore the standard that existed from the 1940s through the 1970s and boost overtime protections for 287,000 workers. [NJPP / Nicole Rodriguez]


$100 Million

Despite mounting evidence that movie production incentives are not worth their high cost, New Jersey has expanded its film tax credit program budget from $75 million to $100 million per year. The program was also extended for five years through mid-2028. This runs counter to a growing national trend where states are scaling back the use of film tax credits; since 2009, 13 states have ended their film incentive programs. As NJPP Senior Policy Analyst Sheila Reynertson notes in this article, “The high price of these tax breaks, combined with the short-term nature of the jobs they bring, make film tax credits a poor use of state resources.” [NJ Spotlight / John Reitmeyer]


47

This week marks the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that struck down statewide bans on abortion. While the decision created a constitutional right to abortion care, it also left far too many people behind, as access remains out of reach for those without sufficient economic resources. New Jersey can help break down these barriers by ensuring everyone has access to reproductive health services, regardless who they are or where they come from. [NJPP / Sheila Reynertson]


ICYMI

NJPP just got a little bigger and a lot brighter with the election of two new board members: Sarah Lechner and John Butler. Welcome to the NJPP team, Sarah and John! [NJPP] 


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