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: 14,274,456
Fully Vaccinated People: 6,750,242
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
With the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund revving on all cylinders thanks to the new, simplified application process, the program is set to expire at the end of the month. State lawmakers and advocates alike are pushing to keep the program open so all residents excluded from federal pandemic relief have a chance to apply. To date, the program has received more than 20,000 applications, a fraction of the state’s nearly half-million undocumented residents who were excluded from pandemic relief. “Why, if there is a pathway and there is funding, and the Department [of Human Services] has gone out of its way to fix the problems with the program, why would we stop it?” said Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex). [NJ.com / Susan Livio]
A state-level Child Tax Credit would make New Jersey a more affordable place to raise a family, according to a new report by NJPP Senior Policy Analyst Peter Chen. The report analyzes two ways to structure a state-level Child Tax Credit — one targeting young children, and one open to children of all ages including adult dependents. The Child Tax Credit proposals, inspired by the wildly successful federal Child Tax Credit expansion, would help up to 424,000 New Jersey families offset the high costs of raising children, reducing child poverty and advancing racial equity. [NJ Spotlight News / John Reitmeyer]
Want to see just how powerful “the line” on New Jersey’s primary ballots is? Look no further than Hudson County. With Senators Sacco and Stack both double-bunked in the new 33rd Legislative District, party leaders are already jockeying over who gets to “pick” who will get the district’s Assembly seats — because in Hudson County, it’s the mayors who pick state elected representatives, not voters. [NJ Globe / David Wildstein]
On Thursday, Senate Budget Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen) announced imminent legislation to bar public entities from doing business with Russia in response to the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. While the bill’s specifics are not yet public, the goal is to cut off all financial interactions with Russia and Russian-tied companies. “Cutting off all avenues of investments and finances in New Jersey and other states will reinforce the international sanctions being led by the United States,” said Senator Sarlo. “I hope to see other states take similar actions.” [NJ Globe / Joey Fox]
Earlier this week, NJPP joined Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) as he unveiled the New Jersey College Affordability Act, which helps low- and middle-income families save for college, pay for tuition, and repay student loans. The legislation, which went into effect at the start of the new year, will allow households with incomes up to $200,000 to deduct up to $22,500 from their state income tax bills to help cover the costs of higher education. “I’m glad that we’re continuing to take steps to address what has been one of the biggest barriers — perhaps the biggest barrier — to students obtaining a degree, and that’s cost,” said Speaker Coughlin. [NJ Monitor / Nikita Biryukov]
You may have noticed a few changes to our logo today! NJPP will officially turn 25 on Sunday, and we are planning a celebration that will last the full year. Watch your feed, your inbox, and your mailbox for special videos, publications, and invitations to events marking our silver anniversary year. No matter how much NJPP has accomplished over the last quarter-century, we know our work is more important now than ever before. We can’t wait to celebrate our past, present, and future together!
Pets of NJPP
Meet Chichi, Raquel Mazon Jeffers’ co-working pup! Chichi was adopted when she was 4 years old. She was originally from Georgia and is believed to be a Chihuahua-Corgi mix, which explains her adorably awkward sweet-potato-like shape. She is the sweetest, calmest most loving creature Raquel has ever met. Woof!
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