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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COVID-19 Cases: 807,970 | Deaths: 22,047
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
As federal lawmakers look to claw back the 2017 Trump tax cuts, a new report highlights just how much the federal tax code is tilted to benefit big corporations. In 2020, at least 55 of the largest U.S. corporations paid zero dollars in federal income taxes despite billions of dollars in profits. These corporations — including household names like Nike, FedEx, and HP — collectively brought in $40.5 billion in pretax income in 2020. Instead of paying $8.5 billion in taxes, as these companies should have, they collected a whopping $3.5 billion in tax rebates. [Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy / Matthew Gardner and Steve Wamhoff]
In response to Georgia’s new voter suppression law, Governor Murphy is calling on film production companies to relocate to New Jersey and take advantage of the state’s film tax credit program. The problem? Film tax credits are one of the worst investments a state can make. Case in point: a new study out of Massachusetts found that their film tax credit program only brought in $0.14 for every dollar spent. “Of course companies should rethink their priorities in light of Georgia’s restrictive voting laws,” said NJPP President Brandon McKoy. “But New Jersey would be smart to avoid this race to the bottom.” [NorthJersey.com / Dustin Racioppi]
As states across the country look to suppress voting rights, New Jersey is taking big steps to increase access to the polls. Earlier this week, Governor Murphy signed early voting legislation into law, paving the way for in-person early voting 10 days before this year’s general election. This is a great policy, for sure, but New Jersey is still far from a healthy democracy. “Any expansion of the voting process is great. But we have a cancer at the heart of our democracy right now with the county line ballot,” said NJPP Trustee Julia Sass Rubin, a Rutgers University professor. Until New Jersey abolishes the line, party insiders — not voters — will continue to determine who wins primary elections. [Politico / Matt Friedman]
A new poll finds that an overwhelming majority of New Jersey voters — 72 percent — support the Reproductive Freedom Act (RFA). The RFA would not only codify Roe v. Wade in state law, but expand access to reproductive health services by removing financial barriers to birth control, abortion, and pregnancy care. Despite New Jersey’s record of supporting reproductive freedom, the RFA has yet to receive a hearing in the Legislature. Read the polling memo and findings by clicking on the link. [National Institute for Reproductive Health]
Electric buses would help combat climate change, make our communities healthier, and result in big savings for the state, according to a new NJPP report by 2020 Crotty Fellow Nausheen Rajan. The report finds that electric buses cost far less to maintain and fuel when compared to NJ Transit’s current diesel bus fleet. The state currently pays $2.81 per mile to fuel diesel buses; electric buses would only cost $0.19 per mile in fuel costs. “Transitioning from diesel to electric buses is a common-sense, cost-effective approach to combating climate change,” said Nausheen Rajan. [NJ Spotlight News / Jon Hurdle]
Save the Date!
We are thrilled to announce the first event in NJPP’s Progress 2021 virtual speaker series: Meeting the Moment, featuring Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.! This conversation between NJPP President Brandon McKoy and New York Times Bestselling Author Eddie Glaude will explore ways to center racial equity in the nation’s pandemic recovery. Registration opens next week, so stay tuned for another email. If you or your organization is interested in sponsoring, click the link for more info. [NJPP / Progress 2021 Sponsorships]
Want to learn more about the roadmap to bus electrification? You’re in luck! On Monday, Nausheen Rajan will join Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and representatives from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign and Rocky Mountain Institute to talk about electrifying NJ Transit’s bus fleet. Click the link to register. [Environment NJ / Register Now!]
Pets of NJPP
Meet Dolly Parton, one-year-old rescue mutt and co-working pup of Amy Torres, Executive Director of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. Dolly likes eating loudly during conference calls and barking during public testimony. Woof!
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