Friday Facts and Figures

Friday Facts and Figures: August 26, 2022

President Biden announces student loan forgiveness plan. New Jersey's 10-day sales tax holiday starts tomorrow.

Published on Aug 26, 2022 in General

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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Big news: President Biden announced his student loan debt forgiveness plan earlier this week that will erase $10,000 for borrowers with less than $125,000 in income — and $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients. Hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans will benefit from this plan; in total, roughly 1.2 million residents have student loan debt, owing a collective $43 billion. But, while this plan will provide transformative relief to some borrowers, it does not go far enough, as NJPP President Nicole Rodriguez highlights here. The income eligibility cap will leave many borrowers behind, while the $10,000 in forgiveness will not come close to covering the average student debt load of New Jersey borrowers. [NJ Monitor / Sophie Nieto-Munoz]


Hundreds of residents who were approved for state rental assistance never received their payments, with dozens now facing eviction as a result. In many cases, the checks were mailed to a wrong address by the Department of Community Affairs, but the agency is telling renters they cannot send them a new check until the old one is recovered. And, in more not-so-great housing news, the state’s Attorney General’s office has sent warning letters to 30 housing providers for discriminating against renters with criminal backgrounds, violating the state’s “ban the box” law. In even more not-so-great housing news, corporations are buying more than a third of available homes in some New Jersey communities, pricing out residents and driving up housing costs. Needless to say, lawmakers need to do so much more to protect tenants and make housing more affordable. [ / Karin Price Mueller]


Think inflation alone is to blame for higher prices? Think again. New data show that corporate profit margins are at their highest level since 1950, signaling that prices charged by businesses are far outpacing increased costs for production and labor. From Bloomberg: “The data show that companies overall have comfortably been able to pass on their rising cost of materials and labor to consumers. With household budgets squeezed by the rising cost of living, some firms have been able to offset any slip in demand by charging more to the customers they’ve retained.” Now would be a great time for Congress to pass a windfall tax on price-gauging corporations. [Bloomberg / Reade Pickert]


It’s been one year since Governor Murphy banned cities and counties from partnering with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and jailing immigrant detainees. But, as immigrant activists note here, ICE is still targeting immigrant communities at their workplaces and detaining them at the one facility that still operates a detention center for ICE — Core Civic, a private prison in Elizabeth. “Many of these private prison companies rely on immigration detentions as the primary profit-making industry because there’s a slowing or reduced market for other jails and prisons,” said Chia Chia Wong, Organizing and Advocacy Director of the American Friends Service Committee. [NJ Spotlight News / David Cruz]


New Jersey’s 10-day sales tax holiday on school supplies starts tomorrow, August 27, and runs through September 5. During the holiday, the state will not charge the usual 6.625 percent sales tax on school and art supplies, teaching materials, computers, and sports equipment. A late addition to this summer’s budget negotiations, the program was touted as relief for families struggling to keep up with rising prices but, because the program isn’t targeted, wealthier residents will benefit the most since they buy the most and have the most flexibility to stock up during the 10 days. [ / Katie Sobko]


Big congratulations to former NJPP staffer Jackie Cornell on being chosen as the new Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey! This is great news not only for Planned Parenthood but for the entire state — throughout her career, Jackie has been a champion of public health that centers people. [NJ Globe / Joey Fox]

Pets of NJPP

I had another pet queued up for today but just saw NJPP Policy Analyst Alex Ambrose’s tweet below and had to share it. Happy National Dog Day! (And make sure to follow Alex on Twitter if you don’t already!)

Tweet from Alex Ambrose: It's apparently national dog day so here's my most dog-like pet, Olive, napping on the couch in the middle of a work day.

Have a fact or figure for us? Tweet it to @NJPolicy. 

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