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: 14,564,743
Fully Vaccinated People: 6,940,416
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
Roe v. Wade
On Friday, the Supreme Court officially struck down Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to abortion and denying millions of people the freedom to control their own bodies. In the hours after the ruling, some states passed new measures to ban abortion care, while other states had pre-existing bans that took effect. Make no mistake, this decision was made by six unelected judges — most of whom were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote — including two who were credibly accused of sexual misconduct, and one whose spouse helped plan the attempted violent overthrow of elected government on January 6. It’s a decision that will disproportionately harm people with low incomes, the uninsured, and — due to of our nation’s legacy of racist and exclusionary policies — people of color. You can read NJPP’s full statement on the decision here, donate to your local abortion access fund here, and click the New Jersey Monitor link to see which lawmakers in New Jersey are standing in the way of expanding access to abortion care here in the Garden State. [NJ Monitor / NJM Staff]
With the state budget deadline fast approaching, Governor Murphy and legislative leaders unveiled a 10-day sales tax holiday on school supplies as a “direct attack on inflation.” The problem? Sales tax holidays are not targeted, so wealthy families end up benefitting more than those with low incomes, and because the tax holiday includes online purchases, there’s no guarantee that it will help businesses in New Jersey. Here’s what NJPP’s Sheila Reynertson had to say about it: “This tax holiday proposal is a gimmick that will not provide meaningful relief to working families who need it most. Changes to the sales tax, whether they’re temporary or permanent, are not targeted, so guess who benefits the most? Wealthier residents who generally buy the most and have the flexibility to stock up during the holiday period.” [NJ Monitor / Nikita Biryukov]
A coalition of immigrant justice groups and community members from across the state rallied in Trenton earlier this week to demand a budget that acknowledges the true diversity of the state. A whopping 23 percent (and growing!) of New Jersey residents are immigrants, but they are often left behind in policy-making decisions. Speakers at the rally called for funding in the budget for immigrant communities and families who need relief, greater protections from federal immigration enforcement, improved language access, and more. The crowd outside the State House summarized why they were there in a simple and powerful four-word chant: “Immigrants make, Trenton takes!” It’s time to fix that. [The Philadelphia Inquirer / Jeff Gimmage]
With state lawmakers looking for ways to make New Jersey more affordable for families with kids, NJPP’s Peter Chen has a great idea: A state-level Child Tax Credit (CTC) modeled on the widely successful federal CTC. The proposal, currently pending in the Legislature, would provide low- and moderate-income households a tax credit worth up to $500 for every child they have under six years old. Other states (Connecticut, New Mexico, and Vermont) have created similar programs this year, while others (California, Massachusetts, and New York) have either expanded or are in the process of expanding their existing CTC programs. Given New Jersey’s record-breaking budget surplus and rising prices that are stretching families’ budgets thin, there’s never been a better time to enact a state-level Child Tax Credit. [NJPP / Peter Chen]
In a new op-ed in the Jersey Journal, Christopher Saperstein and Christian Pimentel of SEIU 32BJ call on state lawmakers to provide hazard pay to essential workers who risked their health during the height of the pandemic. Hazard pay is explicitly mentioned as a recommended use of American Rescue Plan funds, but New Jersey has yet to use any federal funds to compensate the state’s essential workforce. “We showed up for New Jersey. Now, we want New Jersey to show up for us,” writes Christopher and Christian. [Jersey Journal / Christopher Saperstein and Christian Pimentel]
NJPP turns 25 this year and we want you to celebrate with us! Registration is now open for our 25th Anniversary Gala and Progress 2022 policy conference on September 22 and 23, respectively. Register now to take advantage of early bird pricing, and keep an eye out for updates on keynote speakers, gala honorees, and other special guests. [NJPP / Register Now]
Pets of NJPP
Meet Dolly, co-working pup of Amy Torres, Executive Director of the Alliance for Immigrant Justice. Dolly is here, queer, and flapping her ears. Woof!
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