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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COVID-19 Cases: 174,240 | Deaths: 13,501
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
An uptick in New Jersey’s COVID-19 transmission rate may set back the state’s recovery. New Jersey’s Rt, which measures the average number of people infected by each person who has COVID-19, has surpassed 1 for two days in a row this week. This is the first time the state’s Rt has exceeded 1 in ten weeks. Governor Murphy, who has frequently cited the state’s Rt in his COVID-19 briefings, suggested the uptick in transmission influenced his recent decision to require face masks in outdoor public spaces where social distancing is not possible. This should make it abundantly clear that New Jersey — and every other state in the nation — will not be able to fully “reopen” until we control the spread of COVID-19; economic health is inextricably linked to public health. [NJ Spotlight / Lilo Stainton]
In a new editorial, The Star-Ledger has come out in support of providing pandemic relief to undocumented immigrants in New Jersey. Approximately 460,000 undocumented immigrants call New Jersey home; they are our neighbors, family members, classmates, friends, co-workers, community leaders, and so much more. Yet, more than 100 days after the state’s stay-at-home order took effect, they have received no relief or assistance from the state or federal government, despite paying more than $600 million every year in state and local taxes. From the editorial: “[E]ach time we drive by lawn signs or billboards that mark the presence of a “hero,” we should remember that many of those heroes, these essential workers, are undocumented immigrants. They deserve more than lip service and platitudes. And they have been neglected long enough.” [The Star-Ledger / Editorial Board]
New Jersey desperately needs new revenue to keep the state’s finances afloat and protect against devastating budget cuts. In the recently passed 3-month budget bill, New Jersey cut or deferred $5.2 billion in spending, and the state is facing an even steeper fiscal cliff as it prepares a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year. Luckily, Governor Murphy has stated that the state should look into every option available to avoid cuts, including new revenue. Here’s what he told Bloomberg TV earlier this week: “We’re going to have to put some revenue raisers on the table as we go to our next budget.” Regarding the possibility of borrowing money and pushing the federal government for more relief, the governor added, “this is not either/or, it’s and/both.” As I write this, Governor Murphy and Senate President Sweeney are announcing a deal to allow the state to borrow funds from the federal government (this is great news!!!). As this is a breaking story, we do not have all of the details on the proposal right now, so I promise to provide more info on this in next week’s Friday Facts. [Bloomberg / Elise Young and David Westin]
The Task Force on EDA Tax Incentives released its final report this week, and it really hammers home that the state’s corporate tax breaks were a colossal waste of taxpayer money. As outlined in the report, at least $578 million in corporate subsidies were given to companies that did not deserve them; the task force recommends the state refer these cases to law enforcement and attempt to claw-back any tax breaks that were already awarded. Here’s what NJPP Senior Policy Analyst Sheila Reynertson had to say about the report and the future of economic development policy: “There is no good reason for New Jersey to offer limitless tax incentives to large and already successful corporations. It’s a glass half empty view of New Jersey’s economic potential that ironically robs the state of resources needed to promote a robust and healthy business climate.” [NJ.com / Ted Sherman]
Yesterday, NJPP hosted an all-star packed panel on ways New Jersey can advance racial equity through tax and budget policies. The virtual event, Building an Anti-Racist State Budget, featured Bill Rodgers of the Heldrich Center, Amol Sinha of the ACLU-NJ, and Adriana Abizadeh of the Kensington Corridor Trust (Adriana is also NJPP’s newest board member!). Watch a recording of the event here — I promise it’s really really good! [NJPP / Progress 2020]
Join us at our next Progress 2020 virtual event, Rethinking Corporate Tax Subsidies, this upcoming Tuesday, July 14 at 12:00 PM! This panel will explore state economic development strategies that center equity, communities, and workers, not failed trickle-down ideology. Panelists include CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority Tim Sullivan, Greg LeRoy of Good Jobs First, Sheila Reynertson of NJPP, and Julia Sass Rubin of Rutgers University (Julia is also a new NJPP board member!). Register here: [NJPP / Progress 2020]
Pets of NJPP
We have another reader-submitted Pet of NJPP! Today’s pup was just adopted and has yet to be named (if you have any ideas, please send them over). He will be a Montclair mover and shaker, well, a shaker anyway as Bassets are pretty low and slow. Please keep the pet pictures coming!
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