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: 162,530 | Deaths: 11,970
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
The NJPP team is outraged by the murder of George Floyd and stands in solidarity with the ongoing protests against racism and police brutality. We also recognize that we did not get to this point by chance, but as a direct result of our nation’s legacy of slavery and hundreds of years’ worth of explicit policy choices that continue to push Black and brown communities behind. As NJPP President Brandon McKoy outlined in a statement earlier this week, for New Jersey — and the nation — to rise to the moment and meaningfully advance racial equity requires bold, swift, and direct action. Words are not enough. Click the link for a non-exhaustive list of concrete policy proposals, from an equitable state budget to closing youth prisons, that would help dismantle white supremacy in the Garden State. #BlackLivesMatter [NJPP / Brandon McKoy]
A new report released by Mayor Ras Baraka and the Guaranteed Income Task Force outlines several ways to pilot a universal basic income program in the City of Newark. Under the proposals, 500 or 1,000 city residents would receive up to $500 per month, regardless of their income level and with no strings attached, to help them better make ends meet. “People do not have enough income coming in to take care of basic needs,” said Mayor Baraka. “These conditions were unacceptable before COVID-19 struck, and they are intolerable now. No person should have to deal with these stresses, and that is why we in Newark remain committed to pushing such a policy.” NJPP is honored to be a member of this task force and to have participated in the drafting of this report. We hope to see this pilot program get up and running as soon as possible. [Politico / Katherine Landergan]
The number of deaths from COVID-19 in New Jersey may be much higher than the official death toll, according to a new analysis by NJ Spotlight. That’s because New Jersey only counts lab-confirmed deaths of COVID-19 and does not include probable or suspected deaths. By comparing the total number of deaths in the state over the past three months compared to the average for each month over the past five years, NJ Spotlight estimates that more than 15,000 residents have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic hit. This is much higher than the official death toll: 11,970. [NJ Spotlight / Colleen O’Dea]
New Jersey’s economy is among the hardest hit in the nation by the COVID-19, according to a new report by Rutgers University. Since March, the state has lost approximately 20 percent of its jobs, wiping out all employment gains of the last decade. In a virtual roundtable event hosted by NJ Spotlight and NJTV earlier this week, NJPP President Brandon McKoy stressed that the state’s recovery must include measures that address long-standing racial inequities, saying “unless we address that directly, once we fix that and we do so without making excuses, we will be no better off than we were coming into this.” [NJTV News / Rhonda Schaffler]
On Thursday, the Assembly passed legislation that would authorize the state to borrow up to $9 billion from the federal government to plug budget shortfalls brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Without significantly more federal aid or new revenue, New Jersey must borrow from the federal government to prevent devastating cuts to public programs and services that our communities rely on. “Ten billion dollars,” said Assembly Budget Chair Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Essex). “The scope of this crisis cannot be understated and requires us to consider every possible solution, including this legislation today.” The Senate has yet to schedule a vote on the proposal. [Politico / Matt Friedman]
In the midst of a global pandemic, New Jersey’s health care infrastructure and social safety net have never been more important. Join us today at 5:00 PM for our next Progress 2020 virtual event as we explore ways to secure a fair and healthy COVID-19 recovery. Register using the link and tune in on the NJPP Facebook page later today. [NJPP / Progress 2020]
Pets of NJPP
Say hello to Elvis, NJPP Senior Policy Analyst Brittany Holom’s other co-working pup! Elvis hails from Louisiana, where he was found living in a swamp as a puppy. His hobbies include stealing his dog brother’s toys, chasing balls at the park, and working on his certification in pillow dissection. Woof!
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