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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Expanding access to driver’s licenses for all residents, regardless of immigration status, promotes public safety as more drivers are trained, tested, and insured. After Utah expanded access to drivers licenses in 2005, the uninsured motorist rate dropped by 20 percent. With support from the Senate President, New Jersey is poised to become the next state with universal driver’s licenses. [NJPP / Erika Nava]
In a big victory for as many as 40,000 airport workers, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey approved a $19 an hour minimum wage for the three main airports serving New York City. This wage increase will be fully phased in by 2023 and represents the highest minimum wage set by any public agency in the nation. The unanimous vote by Port Authority commissioners comes after years of pressure from unionized airport workers. [NJTV / Raven Santana]
On Thursday, Governor Murphy announced that thirteen of New Jersey’s nineteen community colleges will be eligible to offer free tuition, benefiting 13,000 students estimated to meet the family income requirements. This program is funded by $25 million included in Governor Murphy’s budget to expand access to higher education. [NJ.com / Matt Arco]
New Jersey is among the states least equipped to weather an economic downturn, according to S&P Global Ratings and Moody’s Analytics. The state’s budget reserves account for only two percent of the state’s overall spending, not nearly enough to hedge against a revenue shortfall. The Wall Street analysts also criticized New Jersey’s reliance on one-shot sources of revenue. [NJ Spotlight / John Reitmeyer]
Despite a flurry of articles claiming widespread bonuses after last year’s federal tax overhaul, new data suggests that it has done nothing to raise the wages or bonuses of rank-and-file workers. Between the fourth quarter of 2017 and the second quarter of 2018, bonuses have increased by only $0.03 per hour (inflation adjusted). This bump is small and likely an effect of continued low unemployment, not from changes in federal tax law. [Economic Policy Institute / Lawrence Mishel]
NJPP’s Brandon McKoy makes the case for a $15 minimum wage for all workers in an NJ BIZ op-ed: “Research shows that gradually increasing New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15 by 2023 would boost wages for 1.2 million workers and pump $4.5 billion into the state’s economy. Extending the phase-in beyond 2023 or limiting the sectors of workers included in the legislation would significantly and unnecessarily dampen the size of that impact.” [NJ BIZ / Brandon McKoy]
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