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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Vaccine Doses: 11,849,762
Fully Vaccinated People: 5,904,329
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
Bergen County has officially ended its contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold immigrant detainees at the county jail. Wednesday’s vote by the Bergen County Board of Commissioners follows months of protests outside the jail — and hunger strikes inside it — against inhumane conditions and human rights violations. Bergen is the last county in the state to terminate its contract with ICE; Hudson and Essex each terminated their respective contracts earlier this year. [WNYC / Matt Katz]
Nearly two million fewer jobs will be created, per year, if the federal budget reconciliation package is cut from $3.5 trillion to $1.5 trillion, according to a new analysis by the Economic Policy Institute. New Jersey would lose approximately 51,000 jobs per year alone, equivalent to 1.17 percent of state employment. “Further reducing the scale and scope of the budget reconciliation package unequivocally means the legislation will support far fewer jobs and deliver fewer benefits to lift up working families and boost the economy as a whole,” writes report author Adam Hersh. [Economic Policy Institute / Adam Hersh]
Children in families with little or no income may end up on the chopping block if the Build Back Better recovery package is scaled down to $1.5 trillion, according to a new analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. That’s because the bill, as currently written, would permanently expand the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for families that do not earn enough to qualify for the full tax credit amount. If this provision is scaled down, the reconciliation package will not be nearly as successful at reducing child poverty, advancing racial equity, or stimulating the economy, as the CTC expansion has an 8-to-1 return on investment, meaning for every $1 spent on the program has a return to society of $8. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities / Arloc Sherman, Chuck Marr, and Stephanie Hingtgen]
Remember when the $15 minimum wage was considered a radical concept? Now, higher wages are increasingly recognized as a win-win for workers and businesses alike. If you don’t believe me, ask Bank of America. The bank announced on Thursday that it is raising its minimum wage to $21 an hour, effective next week, with plans to raise the company’s wage floor to $25 by 2025. “Our company’s focus on responsible growth requires that we provide a great place to work,” said Sheri Bronstein, Bank of America’s Chief Human Resources Officer. [ROI-NJ / Tom Bergeron]
Even with fewer people on the road in 2020 due to the pandemic, New Jersey residents still experienced 46 days of elevated air pollution last year, according to a new report by Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center. The report linked the air pollution to the state’s transportation sector (read: cars and buses), as automobile fumes are the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the state. The report recommends that New Jersey lawmakers reduce the state’s reliance on fossil fuels, namely by transitioning to electric cars and buses. [NJ Spotlight News / Tom Johnson]
Help us mark the end of an era as we celebrate Brandon McKoy’s tenure with NJPP! Click the link to register for Progress 2021: Honoring Brandon McKoy on October 21 at 5:00 pm. This virtual event is free and open to the public, but you can make a donation in Brandon’s honor by clicking the link. [NJPP / Progress 2021]
Pets of NJPP
A few weeks ago we featured Susan Druckenbrod’s cat, Pip. Today, I’m pleased to share an adorable picture of Pip’s brother, M! While Pip was a rugged adventurer, M is more of a dreamer who loves being pet. Meow!
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