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, same shutdown—and it’s impacting approximately 800,000 federal employees, including more than 380,000 workers who were told to stay home. The shutdown enters day fourteen as President Trump holds out for $5 billion in funding for a new border wall, with no end in sight for furloughed workers. [NJ.com / Jonathan D. Salant]
Yesterday, after new members of the House of Representatives were sworn in, House Democrats passed a spending bill to end the shutdown and fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year. The proposal includes no new funding for a border wall, but it continues to fund the Department of Homeland Security at current levels, including $1.3 billion for border security. Senate Republicans and the President call the proposal a “non-starter.” [Associated Press / Matthew Daly, Catherine Lucey and Jill Covin]
The new year rang in a new minimum wage in twenty states, boosting the take home pay for 5.3 million workers across the country. Eight states—including New Jersey—automatically raised their minimum wages to keep up with inflation, while increases in six states were set by legislation. The remaining six states are raising their minimum wages as a result of approved ballot measures. The federal minimum wage has remained the same since 2007. [Economic Policy Institute / David Cooper]
More than a third of college students lack consistent access to nutritious food, including twenty percent of undergraduate students who experience “very low food security.” In response to this harsh reality, more than twenty food pantries have opened at New Jersey college campuses as tuition costs continue to rise and wages remain stagnant, further bolstering the case against exempting teen workers from an increase in the minimum wage. [NorthJersey.com / Hannan Adely and Catherine Carrera]
It’s been over a year since the passage of the Trump tax cuts, and the benefits continue to go almost exclusively to large corporations and wealthy executives. Of the $200 billion in corporate federal income tax cuts, analysts found that only a small share went to higher wages, while stock buybacks and corporate profits are at all time highs. After-tax corporate profits rose nearly 20 percent in 2018, despite pre-tax profits rising at a much slower rate. [New York Times / Jim Tankersley]
This year alone, New Jersey is on the hook for $545 million in corporate grants and tax-credit awards, writes NJPP’s Sheila Reynertson in an NJ BIZ op-ed. These corporate incentives exploded under the Christie administration, with little to no oversight, and failed to stimulate the state’s economy. With the state’s largest incentive program sunsetting at the end of this fiscal year, Sheila recommends that lawmakers follow the lead of states like Washington and Florida by scaling down incentives and implementing stricter guidelines. [NJ BIZ / Sheila Reynertson]
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