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: 13,256,438
Fully Vaccinated People: 6,339,084
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
Here’s a lame duck special: Atlantic City casinos are primed to receive a tax cut worth more than $50 million per year thanks to a new bill that’s being fast-tracked through the Legislature. The bill would reduce the annual tax payments of casinos and exclude online sports betting from their revenue, artificially deflating how much money they’re making. Supporters of the bill claim that up to four casinos are in danger of closing, but newly released data from the State shows that the casinos have had a banner bounce-back year in 2021, earning roughly $4 billion in revenue and more than $530 million in profit. [AP News / Wayne Parry]
The Murphy administration has earmarked an additional $10 million to the state’s Excluded New Jerseyans Fund and extended the application deadline into the new year. Without these additional resources, the program would have expired on December 31 — the federal deadline to use relief funds from the CARES Act. This announcement follows a decision made last week by the Department of Human Services to double the fund’s maximum payment to $2,000 per person or $4,000 per household. However, this still falls far short of the need for relief: the fund would need nearly $1 billion to cover every eligible resident excluded from federal relief. [NJ Monitor / Sophie Nieto-Munoz]
The state moratorium on utility shut-offs will expire at the end of the year despite 350,000 residents still behind on their gas and electric bills. The Department of Community Affairs has notified residents who are behind on payments, encouraging them to apply for assistance before it’s too late. “With expanded income eligibility for some programs, you may be eligible for assistance even if you thought you were not,” said Governor Phil Murphy at a press briefing earlier this week. Click the link for more information on how to apply for assistance and for information on county-based organizations also offering help. [NJ.com / Deion Johnson]
Here’s some exciting news from the nation’s capital: The U.S. Treasury will finally begin to study the effects of federal tax policy by race. This will give lawmakers and the public a better idea of who benefits — and who is left behind — by changes to the tax code, and what policies are effective tools at closing the racial wealth gap. “Obtaining this information would counter the fallacy that our tax system affects everyone equally, regardless of race, or that only white Americans pay taxes,” said Dorothy Brown, an Emory University tax law professor and author of “The Whiteness of Wealth.” [Bloomberg / Laura Davison and Ben Steverman]
NJPP Board Trustee and Rutgers University professor Julia Sass Rubin breaks down New Jersey’s election results in this data-driven article for the London School of Economics. If you want an election recap free of spin, this is a must-read. [London School of Economics / Julia Sass Rubin]
Pets of NJPP
Meet Thor, one of the Chief Snack Officers at Mind Your Design, the design firm that helped us brand the NJPP Progress 2021 series! Thor helps the quality assurance team at MYD, but he truly excels at interrupting conference calls and trying to steal all the pens in the office. Woof!
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