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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According to the new ALICE Report by the United Way of Northern New Jersey, 38.5 percent of households in the state either live in poverty or can be considered working poor. ALICE stands for “Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed,” and measures those who work but still struggle to afford basic needs like housing, food, transportation, health care, and taxes. Since 2010, those living in poverty and below the ALICE threshold has increased by 15 percent as the cost of basic needs has outpaced wage growth. [NJ Spotlight / Colleen O’Dea]
A majority of jobs in New Jersey – 51 percent – now pay less than $20 an hour, or $41,600 a year. The growing shift in the economy toward low-paying service industry jobs is a major barrier for ALICE households. Of those jobs that pay less than $20 an hour, two-thirds pay less than $15 an hour, or $31,200 a year. [ALICE State Level Details / United Way of Northern New Jersey]
Earlier this week Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise raised the minimum wage for all county government workers to $15 an hour. The wage increase is set to take effect on November 1 and will benefit about 100 non-union workers. Hudson joins Bergen as the only two counties in the state with a $15 wage floor. [The Jersey Journal / Corey McDonald]
This year fifteen states – including New Jersey – raised benefits for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a cash assistance program for families with children. This is the first time New Jersey has increased funding for its cash assistance program in 31 years. The increase was made possible by a $6 million investment in the FY 2019 budget. New Jersey also dropped the punitive “family cap” provision, which penalized families for having children while receiving TANF. [CBPP / Ashley Burnside]
New Jersey’s latest budget raised an additional $1.5 billion in revenue to reinvest in assets critical to the state’s economy, including K-12 schools, public transit, and community colleges. This year’s budget was a much-needed reversal after years of austere fiscal policy, but it fell short in one major way: there are not enough stable, long-term sources of revenue to sustain these increased investments. NJPP’s latest report breaks down the “Opportunity Lost” in the FY 2019 budget negotiations. [NJPP / Sheila Reynertson]
NJPP senior policy analyst Sheila Reynertson appeared on NJTV’s On the Record to unpack the NJ Transit audit. Sheila details how the transit agency’s rapid fall is a direct result of tax cuts for corporations and the state’s wealthiest residents. Once a model for the nation, NJ Transit now has a reputation for constant delays, cancellations, and overcrowding. [NJTV / On the Record]
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