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Big news out of the State House from Thursday: The Senate narrowly passed the Temp Workers’ Bill of Rights, sending the legislation to Governor Murphy’s desk (finally!). Make no mistake, this is a historic win that will guarantee New Jersey’s 127,000-plus temp workers the strongest workplace protections in the country. The bill — which requires equal compensation for temp workers, eliminates excessive agency fees, and bolsters anti-retaliation protections — faced strong opposition from the temp agency lobby. “This is just the start of us getting accountability for the workers who have really suffered from abuses, whether they be OSHA violations, minimum wage, overtime, unlawful transportation deductions,” said Joseph Niver, an attorney with Make the Road New Jersey. Sí se pudo! [NJ Monitor / Dana DeFilippo]
More good news, but this time from across the river: New York Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled her $227 billion state budget earlier this week, which calls for an extension of the state’s corporate business tax surcharge. Similar to New Jersey, New York also has a surcharge on the state’s most profitable corporations that is set to expire at the end of the calendar year. With the revenue, Governor Hochul proposed increased funding for things like public education, health care, and emergency shelters. And to protect against a potential economic downturn, the governor also proposed depositing billions of dollars into the state’s rainy day fund, something New Jersey lawmakers have been reluctant to do in recent years. [The New York Times / Luis Ferré-Sadurní]
As if New Jersey lawmakers pushing for a trickle-down corporate tax cut wasn’t bad enough, they’re also advancing new “tough on crime” policies that will do little more than exacerbate racial disparities in the criminal justice system (what year is it again?). On Monday, the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee was scheduled to vote on a bill to establish a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for “assaulting law enforcement with bodily fluids” (read: spitting on a police officer). The bill was ultimately held, but not because mandatory minimums are misguided policy proven not to work at deterring crime, but “in sensitivity to the case of … [Tyre Nichols]” (watch the awkward explanation from Senator Greenstein here). Here’s what NJPP’s Peter Chen had to say about the bill: “If you think the bill is so bad that you can’t pass it because it would make you look terrible in the wake of a horrible tragedy instituted by violent police conduct, then perhaps you shouldn’t pass the bill at all.” [NJ Globe / Joey Fox]
The child care crisis comes at an enormous financial cost to working families and the broader economy, according to a new report by the Council for a Strong America. The study finds that, in 2022, the lack of affordable child care cost $122 billion across the country in lost wages, productivity, and tax revenue. The study also found that nearly one in four parents reported being fired from their jobs due to a lack of affordable and reliable child care. More than half of U.S. residents live in a child care desert, and far more struggle paying for child care, which often costs more than college tuition. Fixing this will require big investments in child care infrastructure and in direct relief to low-income families at the state and national levels — two things that will require stable funding. “That’s where it comes to a head: If you’re not going to put the money in, then you can’t make policy changes that are needed,” said Julie Kashen, Director for Women’s Economic Justice at the Century Foundation. [The 19th / Chabeli Carrazana]
Speaking of the high costs of raising kids, NJPP released a new report earlier this week outlining ways to expand New Jersey’s Child Tax Credit so more kids and families qualify — and for a higher maximum benefit. If enacted, the proposal would benefit nearly half a million families, including more than 700,000 children. [NJ Spotlight News / John Reitmeyer]
Pets of NJPP
Meet Angus, from Absecon, who was featured on CBS Philadelphia earlier this week in his Eagles scarf. When he’s not watching football, Angus enjoys long walks and hanging out with his cat sibling, Pizza. Thank you, Debbie and George, for sending us this photo!
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