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. This is a special edition with four facts to celebrate the Fourth of July. Sign up here
A majority of corporate tax subsidies are sold to companies that never applied for them, according to a new analysis by NorthJersey.com. From 2014 to 2017, corporations receiving Grow NJ or residential ERG tax credits sold 72 percent of their subsidies to other companies. These sales are allowed — tax free — under the existing laws governing the state’s corporate tax incentive programs. Corporations are incentivized to sell their tax credits as they often exceed their annual tax liabilities. Until this summer, the state Treasury Department could not fully track the sale and transfer of tax credits between companies. [NorthJersey.com / Ashley Balcerzak]
On Sunday, Governor Murphy signed the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, averting a state shutdown just in time for the holiday weekend. The budget does not include the millionaires tax, meaning there is no new, sustainable revenue to offset the increased spending proposed by lawmakers (the budget passed by the legislature paid for new spending with rosy revenue projections). To protect against a revenue shortfall later in the year, the governor put $235 million worth of line items in a “lock box,” freezing the appropriations until the state has the revenue to pay for them. This fiscally responsible maneuver symbolizes a much-needed departure from gimmicky budgets of the past and could motivate lawmakers to pass a millionaires tax later this year. [NJ.com / Samantha Marcus]
This was a big week for the 2020 Census. First, the Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s rationale for a citizenship question, then a few days later, the Justice Department pledged the census would be printed without the question. Now, the Justice Department has reversed course and is searching for new ways to get the question back in. Amidst the chaos, New Jersey is taking proactive measures to ensure an accurate count. In the FY 2020 budget signed by Governor Murphy, the state will appropriate $9 million for census outreach and assistance. This appropriation protects against an undercount, which would risk the loss of billions of dollars in federal funds, fewer congressional seats and Electoral College votes, and inaccurate legislative district boundaries. [The Philadelphia Inquirer / Michaelle Bond]
The budget signed by Governor Murphy also includes $3.1 million for legal aid in immigration courts, representing a near-50 percent increase from last year. Free, court-appointed counsel for low-paid immigrants ensures due process and increases the odds of residents winning their case and being reunited with their family. A 2018 report by NJPP found that individuals detained for civil immigration violations are three times as likely to prevail in their cases when they have legal representation. [Asbury Park Press / Stacey Barchenger and Ashley Balcerzak]
Catch up on this year’s budget season with NJPP’s FY 2020 Budget: Rapid Reaction. This informal recap includes the data and analysis NJPP is known for — with plenty of gifs! Click the link to see what’s in the budget, what’s out, and why we’re so excited about Governor Murphy’s $401 million deposit into the state’s rainy day fund (spoiler: it’s a budgeting best practice that prepares the state for the next economic downturn). NJPP President Brandon McKoy and Flyers’ mascot, Gritty, make cameo appearances. [NJPP / Louis Di Paolo et al.]
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