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: 871,333 | Deaths: 22,904
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
Thank you all for making yesterday’s Progress 2021 event a big success! We had more than 300 people tune in to hear Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Governor Phil Murphy outline ways we can advance racial equity in the pandemic recovery. So how do we do it? For starters, lawmakers have to advance targeted policies to undo decades of exclusionary and racist laws that brought us to where we are today. “If racial inequality is the result of deliberate policy, we need deliberate policy to address it,” said Dr. Glaude. If you missed the event, this was the first in a series of discussions over the next few months — so make sure to sign up for those. Click the link to register for our next panel on May 20, Progress 2021: Building a Green Future. [NJPP / Progress 2021]
The 2020 census numbers are in and — *drum roll* — New Jersey’s population is growing! Since 2010, the state’s population increased by 5.7 percent to 9.2 million people. If this comes as a surprise, that’s because, for years, anti-tax zealots have promoted a bunk survey from United Van Lines to propagate the myth that people were leaving New Jersey “in droves” because of taxes. Turns out a random moving company isn’t the best source for good data on where people are moving and why. We’re just glad that we can all finally retire the trope that people are fleeing New Jersey because of taxes. It’s just not true. [NJ Spotlight News / Colleen O’Dea]
Big news: starting May 1, all New Jersey residents will be able to obtain a driver’s license, regardless of their immigration status! Driver’s license expansion was signed into law by Governor Murphy in December 2019 after years of advocacy by immigrants’ rights groups and grassroots activists; the law is expected to benefit approximately 400,000 residents across the state. As NJPP has previously reported, similar laws in other states resulted in safer roads and stronger communities as more residents are able to safely get where they need to go, whether it’s work, a doctor’s appointment, or dropping a child off at school. [NorthJersey.com / Monsy Alvarado]
President Joe Biden’s American Families Plan would increase taxes on the wealthiest families to fund big investments in child care, education, reducing child poverty, and much more. Of note is that the President’s proposed income tax changes would only impact 0.7 percent of taxpayers, with virtually all of the increase falling on the richest 1 percent. On average, those in the top 1 percent — with a median income of $2.1 million — would pay an additional $104,130 per year. There would be no tax increase for families in the bottom 99 percent. And a big shout out to the folks at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (who crunched these numbers and many others that we’ve cited here at NJPP) for being mentioned in President Biden’s address earlier this week! [Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy / Steve Wamhoff and Matthew Gardner]
In a surprise move, Essex County officials announced earlier this week that they will be ending their contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and will no longer house immigrant detainees in their county jail. As NJPP reported in March, ICE detention practices violate human rights and harm public health. Hudson and Bergen Counties should follow Essex’s lead and similarly terminate their contracts with ICE. [NJ.com / Ted Sherman]
Pets of NJPP
Meet Olive, Caitlin Sherman’s resident cuddle monster! Olive will sleep under the covers in cold weather and loves to lie on Caitlin’s arms when she’s trying to type. She has enormous claws but only uses them to make biscuits or destroy the couch. She’s great at yelling, and sometimes snores (it’s okay, Olive, me too). Meow!
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