Friday Facts and Figures: November 22, 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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Join the NJPP Team!

NJPP is looking for a new policy analyst to help us research the financial and social costs of drug prohibition in New Jersey. We are looking for someone with strong quantitative and qualitative skills to both dig through data and ensure the perspectives of individuals with lived experiences are fully included. This is a part-time, fixed-term position. Is this a good fit for you or someone you know? Apply here! [NJPP / Job Opportunity]

$650 Million

New Jersey is seeking approximately $650 million from Uber Technologies Inc. for unpaid unemployment and disability insurance taxes over the last four years. According to the state Department of Labor, the rideshare company has been misclassifying its drivers as independent contractors to avoid taxes and providing workers with certain benefits. Lawmakers are also considering new legislation to expand the definition of “employee” to prevent future misclassification and boost protections and compensation for workers in the gig economy. [NJ Spotlight / John Reitmeyer]

Up in Smoke

New Jersey will not be legalizing recreational marijuana, at least not during this year’s lame duck session, as a last-ditch attempt to pass a bill through the legislature went up in smoke earlier this week. Instead, lawmakers plan on putting the proposal on the ballot for voters to decide next November. In the meantime, legislative leaders are working with Governor Murphy to expunge criminal records on past marijuana charges. Some lawmakers are also considering decriminalization as a short-term solution until cannabis is fully legalized. [ / Matt Arco and Amanda Hoover]


A new analysis by economist Arindrajit Dube finds that increases in the minimum wage benefit workers through higher pay without much downside. Specifically, his comprehensive review of decades worth of minimum wage research finds that the effect on employment is very close to zero, meaning the number of jobs cost by minimum wage laws is negligible. This study further disproves the age-old assumption that increases in the minimum wage result in widespread job loss. [Vox / Dylan Matthews]

41 Percent

A substantial portion of wealthy households’ income escapes taxation or qualifies for special tax breaks, according to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). For working and middle class families, more than 80 percent of household income comes from labor. Meanwhile, for the top 1 percent of households, capital income — most of which enjoys a lower tax rate — makes up 41 percent of taxable income, and pass-through business profits account for 25 percent of taxable income. The CBPP analysis recommends state and federal governments reconsider how the tax code treats the most well-off to push back against rising inequality. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities / Chuck Marr, Samantha Jacoby, and Kathleen Bryant]


Congratulations to NJPP President Brandon McKoy for being featured in Insider NJ’s Insider 100 Power List! Insider NJ describes Brandon as “the face — and mind — of the young progressive generation.” [Insider NJ / Insider 100 Power]

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