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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The construction of new affordable homes in New Jersey doubled after enforcement of the state’s Mount Laurel doctrine shifted to court settlements in 2015, according to a new report from Fair Share Housing Center. The report highlights New Jersey and its Mount Laurel doctrine — a legal framework stemming from a series of state Supreme Court decisions that mandate each town provide a “fair share” of affordable housing to combat segregation — as a national model for other states to follow. Between 2015 and 2022 alone, New Jersey built 22,000 affordable homes to house an estimated 51,000 residents. [NorthJersey.com / Ashley Balcerzak]
On Sunday, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka came out against a plan to cut New Jersey’s corporate tax rate, saying the state has pressing needs that could be funded with revenue from the Corporate Business Tax surcharge. “We need as many resources as we can get, and those who have should pay,” Mayor Baraka said at a rally organized by Make the Road NJ. “What’s ironic is that the governor knows this. At one point he agreed with this. And so we have to continue to get him to agree with it even on his way out the door.” [Politico / Matt Friedman]
At a budget hearing earlier this week, state lawmakers said it’s unlikely that NJ Transit will get a dedicated source of funding in next year’s budget, even though the transit agency faces substantial budget shortfalls in coming years. Senator Pat Diegnan (D-Middlesex), chair of the Transportation Committee, said raising fairs would be “the worst solution” given the impact it would have on low-income residents. Advocates, lawmakers, and transit officials have floated other options, such as extending the Corporate Business Tax surcharge on the most profitable businesses. Like we always say, budgets are about priorities — so do lawmakers prioritize multinational corporations like Amazon and Walmart, or working families who rely on NJ Transit to get around? [NJ Monitor / Nikita Biryukov]
In an interview with Politico, Jersey City Mayor and newly announced gubernatorial candidate Steven Fulop came out in support of raising the state’s minimum wage higher than $15 an hour to help low-paid workers keep up with rising prices. This shouldn’t come as a surprise: Jersey City was the first municipality in New Jersey to raise its own minimum wage to $15 back in 2016, and the city raised the minimum pay for municipal workers to $20 last year. Here’s what NJPP’s Peter Chen had to say about the idea: “Aiming for $20, and maybe even above, is a reasonable push. But I think eliminating the exemptions is just as important because there are so many groups that are carved out and so many wages that are depressed.” [Politico / Dustin Racioppi]
All but five percent of New Jersey police departments are violating a state attorney general directive to make it easier for residents to report police misconduct. According to a new report by the state Comptroller, most police departments fail to post complaint forms online, while others post them with warnings intended to discourage civilians from filing reports. In an interview with NJ Spotlight News, NJPP’s Marleina Ubel highlighted how these warnings act as a deterrent and should be removed: “These kinds of warnings are in direct violation of the internal affairs policies and procedures set by the Office of the Attorney General.” [NJ Spotlight News / Brenda Flanagan]
Join your favorite policy wonks in Trenton on June 1 for a budget-themed happy hour: Budget & Brews! Admission is free, but registration is required. Reserve a spot by clicking the link! [NJPP / Budget & Brews]
Pets of NJPP
The Pets of NJPP are now on TikTok! Earlier this week, Erica’s cat Beaker recorded a video for us to highlight how CEOs earn 351 times more than their average workers. [NJPP]
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