Friday Facts and Figures is a weekly newsletter with data points, analysis, and commentary on the biggest policy debates in New Jersey and beyond.
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Vaccine Doses: 14,405,003
Fully Vaccinated People: 6,840,819
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
More than four in ten children in New Jersey live in households struggling to meet everyday costs, according to the latest ALICE report by United Way of Northern New Jersey. For those unfamiliar with the annual study, ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed, meaning individuals and families who are working but still cannot afford basic necessities like housing, food, child care, and transportation. The new report — and the real people beyond the numbers, like Alicia Quetel who is featured in Tom Moran’s latest column — underscore the need for state lawmakers to do more to support low- and moderate-income families. Our recommendations? Expand and boost the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), raise benefits in WorkFirst NJ, and create a state-level child tax credit. [The Star-Ledger / Tom Moran]
With Tax Day around the corner (April 18, don’t forget!), families with children are claiming the second half of their expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) for 2021. The success of and broad support for this policy have yet to persuade members of Congress to renew the CTC’s expansion, however, and millions more children will live in poverty as a result. According to a new analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 4.1 million children will be pushed into poverty if the expanded CTC is not renewed, with Black, Hispanic/Latinx, and Asian children facing higher poverty rates than white children. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities / Chuck Marr]
Speaking of Tax Day, community leaders and undocumented residents rallied in Paterson earlier this week in support of $1 billion in state aid for workers and families excluded from federal pandemic relief. Citing recent NJPP reports, members of Make the Road New Jersey highlighted how undocumented residents in New Jersey pay roughly $600 million in state and local taxes every year — and that undocumented residents paid more than $1 billion into the state’s unemployment fund over the last decade despite being ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits. If that doesn’t sound fair, it’s because it’s not. [NJ Monitor / Sophie Nieto-Munoz]
It’s happening! Legal cannabis sales will start next week after the Cannabis Regulatory Commission gave 13 medical marijuana dispensaries the green light to sell to recreational customers. Concerns remain, however, that the state’s alternative treatment centers may not have enough supply to meet pent-up demand, especially for the state’s 130,000 medical marijuana patients. There are also real concerns about equity in the new legal marketplace given that the state’s medical dispensaries are mostly run by white-owned, multi-state corporations. [NJ Monitor / Sophie Nieto-Munoz]
Some good budget news: Revenue collections from the income, sales, and corporate business taxes continue to come in above projections. In total, state revenues are up by $5 billion from where they were last year. Treasury officials are urging lawmakers to be cautious as collections could flatten, but this is good news nonetheless as it means the state could have more resources to provide direct support to families struggling to make ends meet. [NJ Spotlight News / John Reitmeyer]
ICYMI: The People’s Hearing
Since state lawmakers aren’t planning on holding additional hearings on how to spend federal pandemic relief, we’re holding our own! Join the For The Many NJ coalition this upcoming Tuesday at 10:00 am for a virtual hearing on how state lawmakers should spend the remaining $3 billion in American Rescue Plan funds. This is a historic opportunity to provide direct relief to low-paid working families and those hardest hit by the pandemic, so register now to have your voice heard! We ask that everyone who testifies keep their remarks to three minutes. [For The Many NJ / Facebook Live]
Pets of NJPP
Meet Benny and Timbo, coworking pups of Erik Cruz-Morales! Benny is a very loyal dog who enjoys a good game of tag or fetch. Timbo loves puddles, walking trails, and eating all of the peanut butter. Look out for a picture of Erik’s third dog, Friday, next week. Woof!
Have a fact or figure for us? Tweet it to @NJPolicy.