Friday Facts and Figures: March 29, 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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$2.67 Million

On Thursday, a former executive at Jackson Hewitt Tax Services testified that the company lied about plans to move its headquarters out of state so it would qualify for a $2.67 million subsidy from the Economic Development Authority. The subsidy application was ultimately approved, despite Jackson Hewitt having no intention to move — in fact, they had already finalized plans to relocate to Jersey City. The testimony exposed a culture of corruption that has robbed the state of critical taxpayer dollars. NJPP is calling for a complete moratorium of tax subsidies awarded under the Christie administration. [ / Ted Sherman]


New Jersey is one of the only states in the nation with an empty (read: $0.00) rainy day fund. While surpluses are not mandatory, they are a budgeting best practice and an important safeguard against economic downturns, like the Great Recession, and natural disasters, like Hurricane Sandy. Governor Murphy has proposed a $1.2 billion surplus in his fiscal year 2020 budget, but its fate is tenuous as legislators may try to divert the funds elsewhere. A healthy budget surplus is a critical first step for New Jersey to get its fiscal house back in order. [NJ 101.5 / Dino Flammia]


Donald Trump is once again pushing for a full repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a move that would result in 695,000 New Jerseyans losing their health care. Essex County would be hit the hardest, with 92,900 residents losing insurance, while Hudson, Bergen, and Middlesex Counties would all have over 70,000 residents lose their care. Trump has now tried to dismantle the ACA twice this month; first in his budget proposal and now by asking a federal appeals court to declare it unconstitutional. [ / Jonathan D. Salant]


Under a new proposal by Governor Murphy, New Jersey is poised to become the 13th state in the nation with a state-run health insurance exchange. A state exchange will give New Jersey more flexibility in how insurance policies are sold and allow the state to set up its own website, enrollment period, and outreach efforts. According to NJPP’s Raymond Castro, “This is great news that will cut costs for consumers.” [NJ Spotlight / Lilo Stainton]

1.7 Million 

The financial futures of 1.7 million New Jersey workers just got brighter, thanks to the newly enacted Secure Choice Savings Program. Private sector workers who do not have access to retirement savings options through their employers will now be able to enlist in a state-managed Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Unlike traditional IRAs, Secure Choice IRAs will be completely portable, so they will follow workers when they change workplaces. According to AARP, New Jersey is facing a retirement crisis, as 72 percent of workers at businesses with fewer than 100 employees have a pension or retirement plan. [ROI NJ / Alex Wolmart]


NJPP President Brandon McKoy was named to the 2019 NJ BIZ Power List! NJ BIZ praised Brandon for his original research, analysis, and advocacy in the successful fight for a $15 minimum wage, calling him “a leading voice for policies that boost the economic security of New Jersey’s working families.” Congratulations, Brandon! [NJ BIZ]

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