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Earlier this week, The Star-Ledger Editorial Board came out in support of the Temp Workers’ Bill of Rights, calling out the Legislature for turning their backs on low-paid workers who are exploited by temp agencies and carved out of state labor law protections. The editorial ran days after the Senate was expected to vote on the bill but pulled it from consideration at the last minute. Here’s what bill sponsor Senator Joe Cryan had to say about the legislation: “These temp agency owners get rich off paying poverty wages to workers, abusing the employees daily, and treating New Jersey taxpayers like suckers for paying for their employees’ healthcare.” Needless to say, my wish this holiday season is for more lawmakers who are committed to supporting workers over corporate special interests. [The Star-Ledger / Editorial Board]
Instead of supporting low-paid workers, lawmakers were busy this week rolling back criminal justice reforms, advancing six bills out of committee that would increase the penalties for motor vehicle theft. Civil rights advocates and policy experts testified against the bills, pointing to data showing that “tough on crime” policies do not make our communities safer but help drive racial disparities in arrests and incarceration. NJPP’s Marleina Ubel described the proposals as “a knee-jerk response that will only serve to criminalize more people.” [NJ Monitor / Dana DiFilippo]
Now for some good news: New Jersey will provide more assistance to residents applying for food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The Murphy administration is increasing the number of SNAP navigators so more help is available for families who qualify for the program but lack access to benefits. According to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, approximately 650,000 people in the state face hunger every day, including 175,000 children. [NJ Spotlight News / Melissa Rose Cooper]
Public service announcement: The application deadline for the state’s flagship property tax relief program, ANCHOR, is fast-approaching. Homeowners and renters have until January 31 to apply for tax credits up to $1,500 (click here for details from the state Division of Taxation on how to apply online). As NJPP’s Peter Chen told WHYY earlier this week, the application for tax credits makes it unlikely that all who qualify will receive what they’re entitled to: “The more qualifications requirements that are required to access a program rather than automated, automatic or universal programs, the harder it is for people to actually access the benefit.” [WHYY / Tennyson Donyea]
Join the NJPP team in dreaming of a better, brighter state that leaves no one behind. What are Erica and I dreaming of? A state where there’s no such thing as poverty and everyone has safe, stable, and affordable housing. What are your dreams for New Jersey?
Pet of NJPP
Happy holidays and happy New Year from Simon and Felicity, co-working cats of Ed Dippold and NJPP Board Trustee Deb D’Arcangelo! Meow!
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