Friday Facts and Figures: November 15, 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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New Jersey’s minimum wage will continue to rise! A proposal to roll back the $15 minimum wage was pulled from Thursday’s Senate Labor Committee agenda after pushback from NJPP, progressive advocates, and members of Congress. Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-1) sent a letter to the legislature on Tuesday morning deriding the bill as “irresponsible” and “illogical.” On Wednesday morning, Senator Bernie Sanders urged state lawmakers to “stand on the side of workers and their families.” As NJPP President Brandon McKoy told The Intercept, “we can’t be entertaining a process that would possibly further delay increases.” [The Intercept / Akela Lacy]


The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has proven effective at lifting low-paid workers and their families out of poverty, but many young adults entering the workforce are left behind due to strict eligibility requirements. In a new report, NJPP’s 2019 Crotty Fellow Vineeta Kapahi outlines three ways state lawmakers can expand and strengthen the EITC, benefitting over 400,000 workers. The report, released yesterday at the State House, coincided with the introduction of new legislation by Senator Joe Lagana and Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson to allow anyone who is 18 or older to qualify for the EITC and to boost the credit to 50% of the federal benefit. [NJPP / Vineeta Kapahi]


Just as New Jersey was unprepared for the Great Recession, the state remains vulnerable to a future economic downturn. According to a new report by graduate students at the Rutgers University Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, budgetary decisions made before a recession play a big role in how a state reacts to and recovers from it. Unfortunately for New Jersey, the state is making the same mistakes it made before 2007, namely by using non-recurring revenue for recurring expenses, skipping pension payments, and not investing enough in the Rainy Day Fund. Report advisor and emeritus professor Cliff Zukin, Ph.D, sums it up here: “New Jersey is as prepared for the next economic downturn as a skydiver without a parachute.” [ROI NJ / Emily Bader]


Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the Trump administration’s attempt to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Without DACA protections, 17,000 New Jersey residents are at risk of deportation. This would do irreparable harm to New Jersey’s communities and local economies, as NJPP’s Erika Nava outlines in this blog post. [NJPP / Erika Nava]

$600 Billion

Senators Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker have a new bill to rein in prescription drug prices, a leading driver of increasing healthcare costs. Based on a Canadian model, the new legislation would create an independent organization to monitor drug price increases and establish the list price for new medications. Without legislation like this, total U.S. spending on prescription drugs is expected to top $600 billion in 2020. [NJ Spotlight / Lilo Stainton]

Save the Date!

NJPP’s annual policy conference, Progress 2020, will take place on Friday, April 24, 2020. Keep an eye out for ticket and sponsorship info in the next few weeks. In the meantime, use this link to suggest a breakout panel and potential speakers. We look forward to reading your suggestions! [NJPP / Progress 2020]

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