Friday Facts and Figures is a brief digital newsletter focusing on data points from NJPP reports, research, and policy debates in New Jersey and beyond.
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New year, new laws! After a busy 2019, some major legislation will take effect this year, benefitting New Jersey residents of all ages and in every corner of the state. By the end of 2020, New Jersey will have restored voting rights for people on probation and parole, banned employers from asking job applicants about their previous salaries, established its own state-based health exchange, and much more. According to NJPP Health Policy Director Ray Castro, “state exchanges are much more effective in keeping premiums down and ensuring more adults and children are covered.” Read this breakdown from The Star-Ledger for a list of 13 new laws set to take effect in 2020. [NJ.com / Samantha Marcus]
New Jersey’s minimum wage is on the rise! On January 1, the minimum wage increased from $10.00 an hour to $11.00, benefitting approximately 460,000 workers and their families. Of those who received an increase in take home pay, a majority are adults, women, and workers of color. According to an analysis by NJPP Research Director Nicole Rodriguez, the wage increase will add $480 million to the state’s economy as minimum wage workers have more money to spend in their communities. [NJPP / Nicole Rodriguez]
On Thursday, Governor Murphy restored $9.5 million in funding to women’s health clinics in response to an anti-abortion gag rule enacted by the Trump administration in 2019. The federal rule bans agencies receiving Title X funds — which are meant to provide reproductive health care to people with low incomes — from advising patients about abortion. Without these funds, organizations like Planned Parenthood have had to dip into emergency reserves to provide care for more than 70,000 clients across the state. [NJTV News / Brenda Flanagan]
On January 1, New Jersey’s top-end corporate business tax rate decreased from 11.5 percent to 10.5 percent, which should reduce state revenues the same year the state is slated to make its biggest-ever pension payment. Without new, sustainable sources of revenue, it will be difficult for state lawmakers to pass a balanced budget without making cuts to public programs and infrastructure that ordinary New Jersey residents rely on. To ensure the state continues to meet its obligations, lawmakers should consider bringing back the estate tax on wealthy heirs, restoring the sales tax to 7 percent, and finally passing the millionaires tax. [NJ Spotlight / John Reitmeyer]
As the economy operates at near full capacity, federal revenue continues to lag as a result of the 2017 Trump tax cuts. According to Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the tax cuts are responsible for $450 billion in foregone annual revenue, mostly benefitting the nation’s wealthiest individuals and corporations. This serves as further proof that trickle-down economic policies do not work — at least not for the overwhelming majority of residents — and that millionaires in New Jersey can afford to pay at least a little more in state income taxes. [Washington Post / Jared Bernstein]
NJPP Policy Analyst Erika Nava compiled everything you need to know about the Trump administration’s public charge rule change in this comprehensive blog post. Click through for answers to frequently asked questions on the issue. [NJPP / Erika Nava]
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