Friday Facts and Figures: June 14, 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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$79 Million

A $79 million tax credit is on the line as yet another corporation was caught providing false information in its application to the state Economic Development Authority (EDA). NFI, a trucking and logistics company now headquartered in Camden, failed to disclose to the EDA that one of its affiliates was found guilty of criminal violations. In 2005, Interactive Logistics, Inc. — which was doing business in New Jersey as NFI Interactive Logistics and has the same CEO as NFI — pleaded guilty in federal court to three counts of wire fraud and agreed to pay $850,000 in fines and restitution. The company also failed to disclose that it was facing two lawsuits for violating labor and wage laws at the time of its application. This is further evidence that New Jersey’s corporate subsidy programs need serious reform now. [The Philadelphia Inquirer / Catherine Dunn and Andrew Seidman]


7

Hours before the NFI news broke, lawmakers on two committees approved a bill to extend the state’s corporate subsidy programs — with no meaningful reforms — for seven months. The proposal passed through the Assembly’s economic development and appropriations committees by a collective 19 to 1 vote, even as some lawmakers publicly spoke to the need for reform. NJPP President Brandon McKoy testified at the invite-only hearing and urged lawmakers to extend the programs only if they enacted annual caps on awards, better vetting and oversight practices, and stronger labor protections. “For years, NJPP has raised the alarm about the enormous cost of these programs to our state,” Brandon told the committee. “These bills proposed today do not sufficiently assuage the concerns we have documented.” [Politico / Katherine Landergan]


20th

New Jersey’s health care system ranks 20th in the nation, according to a new analysis by The Commonwealth Fund. This is an improvement from last year, when the Garden State ranked 25th. New Jersey does well in keeping infant mortality rates low and avoiding deaths among hospitalized patients, but the state’s ranking is weighed down by a drop in vaccinated children, high rates of childhood obesity, and a high rate of drug overdoses. The report also highlights that far too many adults skip medical treatment due to cost. Pursuing proactive health policies, like ensuring all kids have access to coverage, would help New Jersey climb up the rankings and lead the nation in providing comprehensive and affordable health care. [NJ Spotlight / Lilo Stainton]


6

The Bergen County jail is under quarantine as six inmates have been diagnosed with mumps. This is the second recorded mumps outbreak this month at facilities that incarcerate Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees. Roughly two-thirds of the Bergen County jail’s inmates are ICE detainees, though county officials are declining to say whether they are among those who contracted the viral infection. Immigration advocates fear this outbreak could delay court proceedings. County officials say they will use video conference equipment so quarantined detainees can appear in court remotely. As NJPP has previously reported, immigrant detainees are much more likely to be released and reunited with their families when they have access to an attorney. [NorthJersey.com / Terrence McDonald]


4 Percent

This week, lawmakers in Massachusetts passed a constitutional amendment to raise the state income tax on earnings over $1 million by four percent. This proposal — more than double the increase being considered in the Garden State — would generate almost $2 billion in revenue for education and transit infrastructure. Meanwhile, New Jersey lawmakers are reluctant to support a millionaires tax despite passing the same measure five times under the Christie administration. After almost a decade of tax cuts that benefited the wealthiest individuals and corporations, New Jersey brings in less revenue now than it did before the Great Recession. [Mass Live / Shira Schoenberg]


ICYMI

On Thursday, more than 2,000 union members and progressive activists rallied at the state house in support of the millionaires tax and against further cuts to public employee pensions and health benefits. The rally is estimated to be among the biggest demonstrations outside the state house in the last decade. The legislature is expected to unveil their state budget next week. Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Coughlin have both said they will not include a millionaires tax in their budget proposals. [Politico / Ryan Hutchins]


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