Friday Facts and Figures is a weekly newsletter with data points, analysis, and commentary on the biggest policy debates in New Jersey and beyond.
Sign up here.
Vaccine Doses: 7,804,653
Fully Vaccinated People: 3,739,408
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
$350 Billion (Part 1)
The Biden administration will begin distributing $350 billion to state and local governments this month to offset pandemic-related expenses and help fill revenue shortfalls. These funds will help expedite the pandemic recovery by pumping money into the economy and providing local governments with the resources to rehire teachers and other essential public workers. The announcement came with guidance from the Treasury Department that these funds *cannot* be used to subsidize tax cuts. “If the funds provided have been used to offset tax cuts, the amount used for this purpose must be paid back to the Treasury,” the department detailed in their memo. [The New York Times / Alan Rappeport]
$350 Billion (Part 2)
As states and local governments put together plans for how to spend federal dollars, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities put out a new report outlining ways to ensure relief benefits those who need it the most. Included in the recommendations are: restoring cuts for school and other social services, investing in outreach so residents can access federal and state relief programs, boosting the incomes of essential and low-paid workers, and investing in broadband, clean water, and infrastructure projects. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]
Last week, Governor Murphy announced the creation of the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund to provide pandemic relief to undocumented immigrants left behind by the federal government. The $40 million fund, financed with federal CARES Act dollars, will provide one-time payments of up to $2,000 to households earning up to $55,000 per year and is estimated to benefit 20,000 to 30,000 families. Providing pandemic relief to undocumented residents is good public policy and well-overdue — as the late Senator Paul Wellstone said, we all do better when we all do better — but it falls short of the current need, as the relief will only cover a fraction of the approximately 500,000 undocumented residents across the state. [NJ Spotlight News / Leah Mishkin]
In 2013, Governor Christie announced the state takeover of the Camden City School District, promising it would lead to stronger student performance. Now, more than eight years later, a new report by three Rutgers University professors for NJPP finds no evidence that the takeover improved students’ standardized test scores, a metric often cited by proponents of the takeover. While test scores have improved since 2013, the academic gains in Camden started years before the takeover and mirror those of other comparable districts. That points to something else behind the improvements in students’ academic performance, such as a stronger economy after the end of the Great Recession. [NJ Spotlight News / Joanna Gagis]
Join us on Thursday for Progress 2021: Building a Green Future! This event, featuring environmental activist Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, will focus on the intersection of climate change and racial justice at the federal, regional, and state levels. Register today by clicking the link! [NJPP / Progress 2021]
Pets of NJPP
Meet Vienna, co-working bunny of ACLU-NJ’s Alejandra Sorto. Vienna is a 5ish-year-old sassy Netherland Dwarf rescue. She spends most of her days chilling in the living room, biting everything except her toys (charging cables, beware!), and using her adorableness to get endless treats. She makes sure you know she’s the boss and decides when you can have the privilege of her presence and give her pets. Vienna enjoys seasonal photo shoots, bananas, and Game of Thrones.
Have a fact or figure for us? Tweet it to @NJPolicy.