Tag Archive: jobs

Strengthening New Jersey’s Middle Class

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that the middle class has continued to shrink in the Garden State. As Governor Christie puts the finishing touches on tomorrow’s State of the State Address and works to complete his budget plans he must take seriously the need for strengthening and increasing our middle class. Discontent among the middle class is rising. There are steps he and the legislature can take.

Middle class is defined variously, but as a positional term it’s above lower class and below upper class. There has been attention recently on the lower class with the resulting increase in the minimum wage, concern over the safety net, higher ACA Medicaid enrollment, and an effort to restore NJ’s full Earned Income Tax Credit. There has also been a fixation and anger over the increasing wealth of the upper class. There has been less attention to the largest single group – the middle class.

One possible definition of the middle class is that it’s between 75% and 250% of the median household income of the area. In New Jersey the median household income is $71,629, so the range for a middle class household would be $54,000 to $179,000. Over 50% of NJ households fit into this range.

Below the fold are recommended solutions.

After “investment,” Camden neighborhoods struggle to get their share of resources

In Camden, 2014 was a year of change. The education system was fully under state control, the new metro police force was ramped up, and a bevy of tax breaks were handed out to corporations for moving to Camden. Through all this change, there is one critical question that is being asked more and more often by Camden’s residents and advocates. Who benefits from all these changes? If 2014 was a year of change, 2015 is the year Camden needs to fight to get its fair share of the resources designed to help the city.  

What’s Up in 2015

With facts (and help from a psychic advisor) below is what you need to know about our new year:

  • Minimum wage – On January 1 following a one dollar raise in 2014 it increases by an indexed amount of 13 cents to $8.38. Gov. Christie said “No,” but voters said “Yes.” It will help put more money into our economy, but is still low in an expensive state.

  • Petitions for the 2015 Elections – They will be posted on or about the first week of January. All 80 Assembly seats are up in November but only recent vacant seats in the Senate.  

  • State of the State Address – Gov. Christie delivers his speech on January 13 with another moment of truthiness as he trumpets his perceived accomplishments over the past years. Also he likely will drop hints and trial balloons over what he wants to include in the new budget.  

    For more go below the fold, and

    Happy New Year to all our readers.

  • Christie: Political Decisions vs. Sound Policy

    It is no surprise that Gov. Christie’s public approval rating is crashing. The latest poll has him “at  41 percent positive approval rating and 47 percent saying they disapprove of the governor’s work.” After five years New Jerseyans are increasingly realizing that his political decisions are no match for sound policy.

    Christie’s over-arching political decision in the past many months has been to spend his time out of state to benefit his presidential yearnings. It is not clear whether by spending more time at home on pressing New Jersey issues he would have generated sound policies for us. As illustrated below the fold he has a lousy track record.

    Restoring Jobs

    Having gone through a devastating recession in recent years, restoring jobs for New Jerseyans is probably our government’s single most important task. According to the NJ Department of Labor (see Table 1 seasonally adjusted non-farm labor) in September jobs increased by 600 over the prior month and only by 6,100 over the prior 12 months – a pig which no amount of lipstick will make pretty. 8,700 jobs were lost in September in the  Leisure & Hospitality category – mainly casino jobs – a serious problem (and one that will grow worse in October) which Governor Christie has yet to address.          

    Our current unemployment rate of 6.5% is based on the seasonally adjusted civilian labor force employment of 4,209,100 people in September. For 2010 when Christie took office the average was 4,108,700 so we have gained only 100,400 jobs since then. We have even further to go to reach the 2007 level of 4,264,600 employment. Only when and if we reach the 2007 level can we declare a recovery.

    Our neighboring states and the nation as a whole are doing better. NJ’s job growth rate is the second worst in the nation, just ahead of Alaska.  

    Economic and Fiscal Failures: Christie & Corbett by the Numbers

    I like when advocacy pieces come to us sourced and linked, like this from an email that came to us via DNC. Much of Gov. Christie’s time spent galavanting around the country trying to rehabilitate his scandal-plagued street cred has ironically been a tour of states doing better than New Jersey is. But today, Christie is in Pennsylvania, where Gov. Tom Corbett’s economic policies have left his state hurting, just like Christie’s have. You’d think with 5 embarrassing credit downgrades in his record, Corbett would avoid even getting photographed with Christie, who has a record 8. But Corbett’s desperate and tanking in the polls – down 17 points against Dem challenger Tom Wolf – so I guess his handlers told him the Christie road show was worth bringing to town even if it upstages him. After all, these days Christie’s RGA seems to be the only thing propping up Corbett’s campaign; RGA’s actually Corbett’s biggest donor. Way to light up the grassroots there, Tom.

    Tonight, Hillary Clinton’s in the Philly area, too, headlining a Women for Wolf funder. Both Clinton and Christie will need southeast PA voters come November 2016, if either of them gets that far. We’ll see in less than a month which one can claim their PAGov visiting star power helped swing an election.

    Meanwhile, here’s DNC’s take on why it shouldn’t be Christie:

    Job Growth

    47th – Since Corbett took office in January 2011, Pennsylvania has ranked 47th in job creation. [Keystone Research Center, 10/7/14]

    42nd – In that same time period, New Jersey ranked 42nd in job creation. [Keystone Research Center, 10/7/14]

    Huge Corporate Tax Breaks



    $3.9 billion – In Pennsylvania, Corbett gives away over $3.9 billion a year in corporate tax breaks. [Washington Post 01/30/14]

    $4 billion – Under Christie, New Jersey has given away over $4 billion in corporate tax breaks and grants. [Bloomberg, 6/11/14]

    Below, their massive shortfalls, downgrades & regional worsts.  

    A Tale of Two Unemployment Rates

    promoted by Rosi

    One of Chris Christie’s biggest busts has been on jobs.  He trashed the ARC tunnel project (which we could use now that Sandy messed up the other tunnels) which cost thousands of short term and long term jobs, then put all his eggs in Revel and The American Dream to create jobs.  

    Revel collapsed in bankruptcy and The American Dream remains a dream and most of the jobs either would have had were low wage.

    Now we see that the United States unemployment rate fell to 5.9 percent today, lower than it’s been since prior to the economic collapse of 2008.

    Two weeks ago NJ got this report: N.J. unemployment rate increases to 6.6 percent; 900 jobs lost.

    The GOP outside of NJ may want Christie, but those of us paying attention here sure don’t.

    CD2: Bill Hughes first TV spot – “These Streets”

    Here’s the first TV spot from Democrat Bill Hughes, who is challenging the heretofore comfortably entrenched Republican Frank LoBiondo. Hughes is the son of 20-year CD2 congressman William Hughes, who defeated LoBiondo when the Republican challenged him in 1992, then decided not to seek the seat after terms that kept him in Congress from 1975-1995.

    Now his son, a former federal prosecutor, is challenging LoBiondo, in a campaign LoBo is trying unsuccessfully to ignore as he continues to cozy up to NJ’s economic failure Gov. Christie. Hughes is the only NJ House candidate on DCCC’s Emerging Races list. This is his first TV spot, up on both cable and broadcast, a six-figure media buy reaching the entire district – a district that’s hurting with the sinking fortunes of Atlantic City and tens of thousands of South Jerseyans out of work and getting, Hughes says, no leadership from their congressman.

    What do you think, Blue Jersey?

    Hughes for Congress “These Streets” from RSH Campaigns on Vimeo.

    Democrats’ “Minor League” video on Christie – What do you think?

    I have doubts about how effective messaging like this is, particularly coming from the national institutional Democrats, who let’s face it weren’t exactly helpful during the last election to help get rid of the governor they now target. I’m sure some of that was a skim-the-top grasp of Christie’s popularity (then), which of course eroded as the GWB scandal broadened. But let’s remember that incident risking public safety for the several hundred thousand commuters on the busiest bridge in the world actually happened well before the election. Where was the DNC’s acumen to see the opportunity? Where was the DNC? Nowhere. I also suspect it was clear to beltway Dems that Buono’s own Jersey Dems were undermining her, many of them jockeying to boost their own power. For that loss of opportunity, both the beltway Dems and the f*#kbuddy machines deserve blame.

    So, in case you refused to open Dem-flavored email during the scary-assed, sky is falling mail deluge of the last few days (nicely slammed in this tumblr), this below isn’t bad. It eats away some at the progress Christie makes with his bye-bye-NJ presidential audition tour,breezily  embarked upon while NJ slides economically. Of the 3 “strikes” below, I think the most damaging is the 6-time credit downgrade. The first “strike” – job creation –should have been the home run, but the video fails to tie that failure to his massive corporate welfare handouts.

    What do you think, Blue Jersey? Does this change minds in NJ? In Iowa?

    Saving New Jersey’s children three zip codes at a time

    Cross-posted with Marie Corfield blog. – Promoted by Rosi.

    Yesterday the mayors of New Jersey’s three largest cities, Ras Baraka of Newark, Jose Torres of Paterson and Steven Fulop of Jersey City, announced a bold move to collaborate on reducing violent crime in all three cities.

    The proposal evolved from the Passaic River Corridor Initiative along Route 21, which has involved as many as 80 municipalities sharing police intelligence, according to Tom O’Reilly, the head of the Police Institute at Rutgers University. State authorities have said the program has led to hundreds of arrests.

    But sharing police officers among three large cities that are not adjacent to one another while also combining social services is “sort of a first,” O’Reilly said. “They are challenging the traditional ways of thinking,” he said of the mayors. “The idea that three mayors have cut across bureaucratic lines is the first step.”