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: 14,446,915
Fully Vaccinated People: 6,869,227
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
Bad employer alert: Injuries at Amazon facilities accounted for 55 percent of all serious workplace injuries in New Jersey, according to a new report by Rutgers University professor Carmen Martino and NJPP Research Director Nicole Rodriguez. The report also found that Amazon warehouse workers suffered injuries at nearly twice the rate of other warehouse workers in the state. Port Authority Board President Kevin O’Toole called the report findings “eye-opening,” and Rep. Donald Norcross is calling on OSHA to hold Amazon accountable. [NorthJersey.com / Daniel Munoz]
1 in 6
Earlier this week, lawmakers unveiled a new bill to revise and expand WorkFirst NJ, the state’s premier anti-poverty program. Why the need for expansion? As currently set up, the program reaches less than 1 in 6 residents living in poverty — and even for those who receive benefits, they are not enough to escape the cycle of poverty. “In one of the wealthiest states in the wealthiest nation on earth, poverty is a policy choice, and we can and must do better,” said NJPP Senior Policy Analyst Brittany Holom-Trundy. Big shout out to bill sponsors Senator Teresa Ruiz and Assemblywomen Angela McKnight and Britnee Timberlake! [NJ Monitor / Dana DiFilippo]
Nearly 3 in 4 of New Jersey lowest-income residents — 73 percent — spend more than half of their income on housing, according to a new report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. The report also found that there are only three affordable homes available for every ten low-income renters in New Jersey. To alleviate the housing shortage, advocates are urging Governor Murphy to invest nearly $1 billion in federal pandemic relief in housing programs. [NJ Spotlight News / Raven Santana]
Earlier today, Governor Murphy announced that the state will spend $10 million in federal pandemic relief funds on new license plate recognition technology to reduce car thefts. This is the second time this month that the Murphy administration has appropriated American Rescue Plan funds — meant to advance equity and help families and communities harmed most by the pandemic — on police. “Any kind of police access to surveillance technology and databases where they can then store that information shouldn’t be done at all, or with great discretion, because we know we have a culture of policing in this state that has resulted in New Jersey having the number one black-white disparity in incarceration in the nation,” said NJPP Policy Analyst Marleina Ubel. [NJ Monitor / Dana DiFilipo]
A new op-ed signed by all of New Jersey’s United Way organizations makes a strong case for expanding the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a “little-known” tax credit that is one of the most effective poverty-fighting tools. “Since EITC is already a part of New Jersey’s budget, expanding it would have a minimal impact while making a measurable difference in the lives of low-income working families, many of whom are essential workers facing hardships due to the public health emergency.” We couldn’t agree more! [NJ.com / Catherine Wilson]
Pets of NJPP
Meet Tori, Kiki Jamieson’s coworking pup! Tori likes people, and she also likes dogs. When she’s not working, she likes to hike in the woods, walk through mud, wade in streams, and sleep. Her favorite springtime tradition is eating dandelion flowers she plucks from the neighbor’s lawn. Woof!
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