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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We’re back after a two-week hiatus to focus on (and recover from) the gala and conference — more on that below. And as a heads up, the next two Friday Facts will come from Erica Boland as I will be out of the office.
When lawmakers created the new state-level Child Tax Credit earlier this year, the bill text included a small but significant error: Tax credits wouldn’t go out to families until 2024, not during the upcoming tax season as intended. Thankfully, lawmakers caught the error and came back to Trenton earlier this week to clean it up so families with young children will not have to wait an extra year for their $500 credits. “Working class families need help right now to keep up with rising costs, and this law will make sure the new Child Tax Credit provides immediate relief,” NJPP’s Peter Chen told NJ Spotlight News. [NJ Spotlight News / John Reitmeyer]
In a surprise move, President Biden announced yesterday that he will grant pardons for federal cannabis possession charges, which could benefit at least 6,500 people across the nation. The President also directed the Justice Department to review how cannabis is scheduled under federal law, as its current Schedule 1 classification is a barrier to cannabis research and legal cannabis businesses using federally chartered banks. Make no mistake, this is long overdue step toward ending the failed War on Drugs, but much more work remains to treat drug use as an issue of public health instead of punishment. [NJ.com / Jonathan D. Salant]
With the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy around the corner, lawmakers held a special hearing this week on New Jersey’s progress addressing climate change and storm resiliency. Unfortunately, the hearing begged more questions than it answered. Superstorm survivors detailed how the state still hasn’t provided them promised relief, and environmental advocates highlighted inaction on key resiliency measures like new flood zone rules. Watch clips of the hearing here, and read this op-ed by NJPP’s Alex Ambrose on the need for new flood maps. [NJ Monitor / Dana DiFilippo]
Nearly half of domestic violence victims say law enforcement was dismissive of them, according to a new report by Partners for Women and Justice, a nonprofit law firm that provides free legal assistance to survivors of domestic and sexual assault. The report, which surveyed survivors across northern New Jersey, highlights the need to rethink how law enforcement responds to domestic violence cases, which make up a one in four of all criminal cases in the state. The report recommends the state fund and delegate more responsibilities to non-police crisis response teams, including domestic violence advocates and social workers. [NJ.com / Trish Perlmutter and Shana Kleiner]
CEO pay has grown a whopping 1,460 percent since 1978, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute. The ratio of CEO-to-worker pay is now 399-to-1, a new record high (the previous peak was 372-to-1 in 2000). From the report: “This escalation of CEO compensation and of executive compensation more generally has fueled the growth of top 1% and top 0.1% incomes, leaving fewer of the gains of economic growth for ordinary workers and widening the gap between very high earners and the bottom 90%.” [Economic Policy Institute / Josh Bivens and Jori Kandra]
Thank you to all who celebrated NJPP’s 25th anniversary with us! Click the link to see photos from our 25th Anniversary Gala in New Brunswick. [NJPP / 25th Anniversary Gala]
Pets of NJPP
Meet Lizzie Foley’s pup, Tessa! She arrived from Puerto Rico as a rescue almost a year ago and has been tearing up boxes and stealing yogurts off the table ever since. Woof!
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