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: 11,293,164
Fully Vaccinated People: 5,677,386
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
We already knew that the pandemic disproportionately harmed people of color and low-paid workers; now, a new report by NJPP Senior Policy Analyst Vineeta Kapahi finds that the state’s recovery is leaving these same residents behind. The report notes that New Jersey’s labor market is still well below pre-pandemic levels: the state has only recovered 62 percent of the jobs lost at the onset of COVID-19, with Black and Latinx/Hispanic workers disproportionately represented among the state’s unemployment claims. Watch report author Vineeta Kapahi break down the report findings on New Jersey’s uneven recovery here on NJ Spotlight News. [NJ Spotlight News / Briana Vannozzi]
President Joe Biden visited Somerset County on Tuesday to assess Hurricane Ida’s damage and meet with families harmed by the storm. On the same day, the Biden administration requested $14 billion from Congress to help states recover from the extreme weather event. Ida has killed at least 27 people in New Jersey, more than in any other state, with several people still missing. “The nation and the world are in peril,” said President Biden on the threat of climate change. “And that’s not hyperbole. That is a fact.” [The New York Times / Katie Rogers, Juliet Macur, Anne Barnard, et al.]
Earlier this week, the state Division on Civil Rights published new rules prohibiting landlords from asking a tenant about their criminal background in applications for housing. This brings New Jersey one step closer to implementing the Fair Chance in Housing Act, a landmark housing law set to take effect on January 1. Building on the Fair Housing Act of 1968, this law will extend protections against discrimination to those with a criminal record. The state is accepting comments on the rules through November 6; click the link for more info on how to submit comments. [NJ Spotlight News / Colleen O’Dea]
New Jersey has a reputation for being a high-tax state, but is that conventional wisdom backed up by the data? According to NJ Spotlight News’ John Reitmeyer, it’s not so simple. Yes, lawmakers raised taxes during Governor Murphy’s first term, but those taxes were targeted at the top 1 percent of earners and big, profitable corporations — not middle- or working-class families. The high-tax narrative also ignores that the state has also cut taxes for far more residents, especially those with the lowest incomes. “When people describe a state as being ‘high tax,’ it’s always important to ask ‘high tax for whom?’” said Dylan Grundman O’Neill, a senior state-policy analyst with the Institute on Tax and Economic Policy. [NJ Spotlight News / John Reitmeyer]
In a new op-ed, Governor Phil Murphy and Senator Loretta Weinberg call on state lawmakers to pass the Reproductive Freedom Act to protect access to abortion for all, regardless of income or immigration status. The bill, long-stalled in the Legislature, has yet to receive a single hearing or vote. “This legislation says plainly to all New Jerseyans: You have a right to make decisions with your doctors,” write Governor Murphy and Senator Weinberg. “You have a right to access lifesaving health care. You have a right to choose.” [NJ.com / Governor Phil Murphy and Senator Loretta Weinberg]
Join health experts from across the state for the final Progress 2021 event of the year: How COVID is Changing Health Care. Featuring Senator Joe Vitale, Shereef Elnahal of University Hospital, and Linda Schwimmer of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, this conversation will cover how health care has — and will continue to — change in response to the pandemic. Click the link to register! [NJPP / Progress 2021]
Pets of NJPP
Some sad news: the NJPP extended family recently lost a furry friend. Lucky, co-working pup of Anne Songcayauon, loved hiking through the Palisades Interstate Park, sleeping in small hidden spaces, and howling alongside the neighborhood fire alarms. Sorry for your loss, Anne!
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