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: 14,597,951
Fully Vaccinated People: 6,953,502
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
Amazon’s proposed cargo hub at Newark Liberty International Airport is officially canceled amid objections from labor and community groups. The deal, which was first announced and immediately approved at a Port Authority meeting last August, faced immediate resistance given Amazon’s poor record on worker safety and the pollution a new hub would bring to Newark and surrounding neighborhoods. “This victory signals that if Amazon wants to continue growing in New Jersey, it’s going to have to do it on our terms,” said Sara Cullinane, Executive Director of Make the Road New Jersey. [The New York Times / Noam Scheiber and Karen Weise]
Unless Congress acts soon, an estimated 90,000 New Jersey residents will lose their health insurance once subsidies included in the American Rescue Plan expire at the end of the year. The expanded subsidies — available to individuals earning up to $77,280 — led to a big increase in health insurance enrollment. Those gains are now at risk. “More financial assistance is key to helping more people afford coverage,” said NJPP Senior Policy Analyst Brittany Holom-Trundy. “With current rising costs, it’s even more urgent right now.” [NJ.com / Jonathan D. Salant]
Direct relief for those excluded from federal pandemic assistance did not make it into the final budget deal, but earlier this week Governor Murphy pledged to use $53 million in unspent federal funds to do just that. The new program would provide $500 to immigrant workers and their families who pay taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). This is a welcomed step, but the state could go further by ensuring ITIN filers are eligible for safety net programs that they contribute to, like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). [NJ.com / Susan Livio]
Big transportation news: On Tuesday, Governor Murphy and New York Governor Hochul signed an agreement to evenly split their share of the $14 billion required to build the Gateway Tunnel. This agreement was necessary to lock in federal funding for the other half of the costs. For those who may have forgotten, the long-stalled Gateway project would dig new tunnels underneath the Hudson River and rebuild the Portal North Bridge, increasing capacity for commuter rail service into New York City. [The New York Times / Patrick McGeehan]
Child Tax Credit
Want to know how the policy process works in New Jersey? Well, you’re in luck. Earlier this week, NJPP Senior Policy Analyst Peter Chen did his best Schoolhouse Rock impression and outlined how, from NJPP report to part of the final budget deal, the state-level Child Tax Credit became reality. [NJPP / Peter Chen]
Early bird registration for NJPP’s 25th anniversary celebration ends next week, so make sure to reserve your spot now! We’ll be joined by keynote speaker Taifa Smith Butler, President of Demos, and will be honoring Hetty Rosenstein, Michellene Davis, and former Governor James J. Florio. [NJPP / Celebrate 25]
Pets of NJPP
You’ve met my cat Mau before — but never outside! Mauricio has recently taken to exploring the backyard and lounging out in the sun. He hasn’t taken a dip in the kiddie pool, yet, but he enjoys spreading out on the patio, sniffing all the plants, and keeping an eye on all the birds and squirrels that swing by. Meow!
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