Friday Facts and Figures: June 21, 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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$38.7 Billion

Over the course of three days, the Legislature introduced and passed a $38.7 billion budget for next year. The proposal spends approximately $200 million more than Governor Murphy’s budget, but does not include new, sustainable sources of revenue to support these investments into the future. Without a millionaires tax (and the $536 million in revenue it would have generated), the budget is balanced by rosy revenue projections and canceling a much-needed deposit into the state’s empty rainy day fund. This type of short sighted decision making repeats the mistakes of the past, puts new investments on a shaky foundation, and leaves New Jersey as the least prepared state for the next recession. [ / Samantha Marcus]


Opponents of the millionaires tax claim it will place an undue burden on wealthy families, especially now that the federal government has a $10,000 cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions. This is simply not true. Not only do economists find that top earners are the least likely residents to move in any given year, but a combination of the proposed millionaires tax and the 2017 federal tax law still results in a net tax cut of $12,200 for those earning over $1 million a year. Revising the budget to include a millionaires tax would make the tax code fairer and allow the state to meet its long term needs. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities / Wesley Tharpe]

$500 Million

Approximately $500 million worth of corporate subsidies should be suspended or terminated, according to the first report released by the tax credit task force. The report found that “special interests had an outsize influence on the creation and implementation of the credits,” and there were no meaningful safeguards to protect against fraud. Lawmakers were undeterred by this report, as they overwhelmingly voted to extend the flawed corporate subsidy programs for seven more months. Governor Murphy has indicated that he will veto the extension, as he should. It could not be clearer that these programs are inefficient and invite fraud. [ / Ashley Balcerzak]


It’s official — New York is the latest state to allow all residents, regardless of immigration status, access to a driver’s license. The law will benefit approximately 940,000 undocumented residents in the Empire State and make roads safer for all drivers. Expanding access to licenses ensures more drivers are trained, tested, and insured. A similar proposal has stalled in New Jersey, despite overwhelming support among lawmakers, as legislative leaders are reluctant to put it up for a vote in an election year. [New York Times / Vivian Wang]


Congress has set a new record for the longest period — ten years — without increasing the federal minimum wage. Stuck at $7.25 since July 2009, the federal minimum wage is worth seventeen percent less than when it was first implemented. This costs full-time minimum wage workers over $3,000 a year. If the minimum wage kept up with inflation since 2009, it would be worth $8.70 today. If it kept up with inflation from its peak value in 1968, it would be worth over $10 today. [Economic Policy Institute / David Cooper]


NJPP President Brandon McKoy sat down with Governor Murphy to discuss the need for a millionaires tax in this year’s budget. The short answer: to make up for almost a decade of tax cuts that primarily benefited the wealthiest individuals and corporations. Please watch and share the video on Twitter! [@GovMurphy]

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