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Last Friday, Najee Seabrooks, a violence intervention specialist with the Paterson Healing Collective, was shot and killed by Paterson police after he called for help while experiencing a mental health crisis. Najee’s tragic death exemplifies how police are unfit to handle many of the crises they’re tasked with responding to. And his death was entirely preventable: Najee’s colleagues from the Paterson Healing Collective arrived on the scene and attempted to de-escalate the situation, but police did not allow them to intervene. New Jersey is currently piloting programs, like ARRIVE Together, that pair police with mental health professionals for calls like this, but this does not go far enough in removing police from crises that do not need an armed response. It’s not a question of whether alternatives to policing exist, but whether state and local policymakers have the courage to support and expand them. [NJ Spotlight News / Taylor Jung and Bobby Brier]
With Governor Murphy’s address behind us, budget season is officially underway — and public hearings are right around the corner. The first hearing: this upcoming Tuesday, March 14, at Ramapo College of New Jersey. The hearings kick off the budget review process where advocates, policy experts, and members of the public can share their priorities with the Legislature to help dictate the final budget. Historically, communities have been shut out of a less-than-transparent budget process, so every opportunity for residents to share their thoughts is valuable — especially since that’s part of how the state-level Child Tax Credit came to fruition just last year. Want to testify? Sign up on the Legislature’s website (bonus points if you urge lawmakers to oppose corporate tax cuts in next year’s budget). [NJ Spotlight News / John Reitmeyer]
Speaking of corporate tax cuts… Remember when New Jersey gave Subaru a $118 million corporate tax credit to move their headquarters to Camden? Well, new data from Camden show that Subaru employs just 10 Camden residents out of its 786 employees in the city. This is yet another glaring example of how trickle-down tax cuts and tax breaks only benefit the corporations receiving them. If you want the broader public to benefit from corporate profits, we have a system for that — it’s called the tax code. Big shout out to New Jersey Working Families and local activists in the Camden We Choose coalition who petitioned the city for this information. [Gothamist / Nancy Solomon]
In climate news, advocates warned the state’s Department of Environmental Protection that New Jersey may miss its targets for reducing carbon emissions unless the agency acts fast on promoting electric vehicles and stopping new fossil-fuel power plants from opening. In a public hearing earlier this week, environmentalists pointed to nine other states that have banned the sale of gasoline-powered cars starting in 2035, asking why New Jersey has yet to implement its own rules requiring electric vehicles. “We need to move with appropriate haste to get CCII (California Car II) in place,” said Pam Frank, CEO of ChargEVC-NJ. “The Governor needs to match his rhetoric with action. We are behind and late on this for no reason we can understand.’’ [NJ Spotlight News / Tom Johnson]
More climate news: The state Board of Public Utilities opened the application window for three more offshore wind projects on top of the three already approved. More offshore wind is necessary for New Jersey to meet its clean energy goals — but that hasn’t stopped NIMBYs from criticizing proposed wind turbines, falsely tying them to recent whale deaths off the Jersey shore (there is zero evidence that any of the whale deaths were caused by offshore wind, while multiple whales were proven to be struck by ships). “The opposition to clean energy is incredibly transparent, led by bad-faith actors funded by the fossil fuel industry,” said NJPP’s Alex Ambrose. “It is obvious their goals are not to make New Jersey cleaner, safer, or more prepared for the climate crisis; their goals are only to protect an antiquated and dangerous source of energy.” [Fortune / Wayne Parry]
Congrats to NJPP President Nicole Rodriguez for being named to ROI-NJ’s ROI Influencers: Women in Business 2023! And a congratulations to the other heavy-hitting women recognized on the list. [ROI-NJ]
Pets of NJPP
Meet Bella, Sue Altman’s 9-year-old rescue puppy. Bella enjoys swimming in the Delaware River, hunting squirrels, glaring at corrupt politicians, and taking long naps on the couch. Bella recently attended a rally on hospital transparency and is a firm believer in high-quality and affordable health care for everyone. Woof!
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