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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On Tuesday, New Jersey voters narrowly approved $500 million in bonds to upgrade educational facilities throughout the state. The bond issue – the only public question on this November’s ballot – will fund the expansion of career-training facilities at high schools and county colleges, improve K-12 school security, and upgrade drinking-water systems to protect students from lead. [NJ Spotlight / Tom Johnson]
Voters in two states, Missouri and Arkansas, overwhelmingly approved ballot initiatives that will raise their state’s minimum wage. Combined, this will boost the pay of 1 million workers. In Missouri, the minimum wage will increase from $7.85 to $12.00 an hour by 2023. In Arkansas, the minimum wage will increase from $8.50 to $11.00 an hour by 2021. For perspective, New Jersey’s minimum wage is currently $8.60 an hour and will get a small inflationary bump to $8.85 in 2019. [Economic Policy Institute / David Cooper]
Add Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah to the list of states adopting the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. Voters in these three states approved ballot initiatives that will provide Medicaid coverage to an estimated 363,000 more people. In the 31 states that have already implemented Medicaid expansion, including New Jersey, uninsurance rates have dropped and those who gained coverage have benefitted from improved physical and financial health. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities / Jesse Cross-Call]
A ballot measure to roll back California’s gas tax was rejected by voters on Tuesday, preserving $5 billion in funding for road repairs and transit infrastructure. The ballot question would have wiped out a 2017 law that raised the gas tax by 12 cents per gallon and the diesel fuel tax by 20 cents per gallon to fund infrastructure projects. The condition of California’s roads are among the worst in the nation. [San Francisco Chronicle / Rachel Swan]
Nearly 1.5 million people in Florida will have their voting rights restored with Tuesday’s vote to approve Amendment 4. The ballot question restores the right to vote for those convicted of felonies upon the completion of their sentences. In 2016, almost 18 percent of potential Black voters in Florida – 418,000 people – were barred from voting due to a felony record, despite finishing their sentences. [Vox / German Lopez]
In non-election news, Amazon is finalizing plans to split its second headquarters among two locations: Long Island City in Queens and Crystal City in northern Virginia. While some states tried to lure Amazon with promised investments in mass transit and infrastructure, New Jersey’s proposal was anchored by $7 billion in tax credits. [New York Times / Karen Weise and J. David Goodman]
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