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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New Jersey’s minimum wage is set to increase by 25 cents in January, but thank inflation, not lawmakers. The bump from $8.60 to $8.85 is made possible by the 2013 constitutional amendment that raised the wage floor by a dollar and indexed it to the consumer price index. This latest increase – the largest since the amendment passed – is a direct result of a nearly three percent increase in inflation. [NJ.com / Samantha Marcus]
Wages are up 2.8 percent over the last year, according to the latest federal jobs report, but this increase barely keeps up with inflation. Stagnant wages are a clear sign that the economy has yet to fully recover from the Great Recession, even as the unemployment rate continues to fall. Economists argue that wages should increase by 3.5 to 4 percent to account for inflation and increased productivity growth. [Economic Policy Institute / Elise Gould]
An estimated 24 million people, including 700,000 in New Jersey, would be affected by the Trump administration’s “public charge” immigration policy, a proposal that would deny visas and green cards to immigrants who receive food assistance, Medicaid, or do not meet a new income threshold. The proposal radically redefines immigration policy – giving preference to wealthy immigrants while penalizing those struggling to support their families – without congressional oversight. [Fiscal Policy Institute]
NJ Transit is the largest statewide transportation network in the nation, responsible for 270 million passenger trips every year. Almost one in ten New Jersey workers use the agency’s buses, trains, and light rail to get to and from work every day. Without NJ Transit, the state’s already congested highways would have to accommodate an additional 800,000 cars every weekday. [NJ DOT / The North Highland Company]
NJ Transit receives the lowest state operating assistance when compared to peer agencies, according to an audit report released earlier this week. Under the Christie administration, NJ Transit’s state subsidy dropped 90 percent despite rising operational and mechanical costs. The long-awaited report also outlined a tale of political cronyism, key staff departures, and widespread mismanagement. [NJSpotlight / John Reitmeyer]
Two members of the NJPP family were featured in the ROI Influencers Health Care list for 2018. Congratulations to Ray Castro, NJPP’s health policy director, and board member Heather Howard for making the list! [ROI-NJ]
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