Crossroads NJ

Grantee Reports 2014

Income Inequality in New Jersey : The Growing Divide and Its Consequences

Legal Services of New Jersey (December 2014)

This report analyzes the worsening state of income inequality in New Jersey. Since 2009, only the top 20% of households in New Jersey have experienced income growth. Conversely, the bottom 40% of households have seen a continuous decline in median and average income since 2009. Read the full report here.

Danger in the Dark : How Gov. Christie Helps Oil, Chemical, and Railroad Companies Cover Up Potential Catastrophes

New Jersey Work Environment Council (December 2014)

New Jersey has more than 3,000 facilities that each use more than 10,000 pounds of hazardous chemicals and has the highest population density of any state in the nation. This report chronicles how the State Emergency Response Commission has failed to ensure that counties and municipalities provide public access to Emergency Response Plans which are used during chemical fires, explosions, or other toxic emergencies, as required by the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). Read the full report here.

State of the Pinelands 2014

Pinelands Preservation Alliance (December 2014)

This annual report details the actions of government agencies and elected officials with regards to Pinelands protection during 2014. Read the full report here.

School Stability: Improving Academic Achievement for NJ Foster Children

Advocates for Children of New Jersey (November 2014)

As a result of a 2010 law, children in New Jersey's foster care system are more likely to remain at their home school when they enter foster care, resulting in greater educational stability. The organization's survey of child welfare stakeholders has concluded that the law has led to a decline in school disruptions,  and the report explores the on-going issues related to the law and recommends possible areas for improvement. Read the full report here.

Raising the Bar: Creating a Skilled Child Care Workforce for Our Youngest Children

Advocates for Children of New Jersey (November 2014)

Highly-qualified teachers and caregivers who possess knowledge on how to successfully nurture child development are necessary to create a "high-quality" learning envirnment. Yet it is difficult for caregivers to access training, education, and on-going supports due to the weak requirements for becoming an child caregiver, the cost of education and professional development, and the lack of incentives once professional development has been completed. The report concludes that increasing educational and financial supports for child care workers is a smart investment. Read the full report here.

Star Power: The Growing Role of Solar Energy in New Jersey

Environment New Jersey (November 2014)

New Jersey should continue to incentivize growth in solar energy by setting a goal of obtaining 20 percent of its electricity from solar power by 2025. Achieving this goal would cut as much carbon pollution as 2.6 million cars emit in a year and would put New Jersey more than three-quarters of the way to the benchmark set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which requires a 43% reduction in power plant carbon emissions. Read the full report here.

Issue Brief: New Jersey’s Long-Term Unemployment Crisis

New Jersey Policy Perspective (October 2014)

More than five years after the official end of the Great Recession, New Jersey’s economic growth is stalled, lagging far behind the recovery of the rest of the nation. New Jersey’s long-term unemployment problem is more severe than all other states except one, and the nation as a whole. Nearly half of New Jersey’s unemployed residents (46.3%) are long-term unemployed, just barely the second highest percentage of the 50 states (Florida is at 46.5%). Read the full report here.

How to Dig an Even Deeper Pension Hole

New Jersey Policy Perspective (October 2014)

This report analyzes the economic impact of a new 401k-type defined contribution system that is being discussed as an alternative to the current defined benefit pension plan that has been underfunded in New Jersey for many years. Transitioning to a new system would burden taxpayers with approxiamately $42 billion while failing to reduce the State's underfunded pension liability. The defined contribution plan has also been rejected by 13 other states and failed in three states. Read the full report here.

Poverty Benchmarks 2014: Assessing New Jersey's Progress in Combating Poverty

Legal Services of New Jersey (September 2014)

This annual report tracks poverty trends, analyzes new data, and monitors the performance of government programs and policies to address poverty in New Jersey. In 2012, poverty remained at record high levels, with a disproportionately large effect on vulnerable and at-risk populations and those in southern and urban counties. Unemployment continued to remain relatively high and research indicated that New Jersey wages eroded over the last decade. The report predicts that forthcoming 2013 Census data will show that while the poverty rate has declined in 2013, the poverty level (the total number of those living in poverty) will remain high. Read the full report here.

What is Poverty?: Measuring Deprivation in New Jersey

Legal Services of New Jersey (September 2014)

This report analyzes the inadequacy of the Federal Poverty Level to fully measure the rate of poverty. In New Jersey, the percentage of those unable to meet basic needs is nearly three times the level indicated by the Federal Poverty Level. This report advocates for the usage of a New Jersey Real Cost of Living benchmark of poverty that is 250% of the Federal Poverty Level as the original measure does not take into account the regional differences in cost of living. Read the full report here.

Share the Road: Allowing Eligible Undocumented Residents Access to Driver’s Licenses Makes Sense for New Jersey

New Jersey Policy Perspective (September 2014)

About 464,000 of New Jersey’s estimated 525,000 undocumented residents stand to benefit from a change in the state’s policy on driver’s licenses. The State can expect between $5.2 million and $11.1 million in fees right away and New Jersey policyholders will be able to maintain their premium costs as new insurance premiums will generate $209 million in revenue. This policy change will also make New Jersey safer and reduce the chance of deportation and family separation. Read the full report here.

Issue Brief: Despite National Economic Recovery, Poverty in New Jersey Continues to Rise

New Jersey Policy Perspective (September 2014)

New Jersey is one of only three states (along with New Mexico and Washington) to experience a rise in both the total number of residents in poverty and the poverty rate in 2013. New Jersey’s poverty rate is now 11.4%, a rate two percent higher than when the national economic recovery began in 2009, as 196,000 more New Jerseyans have entered deep poverty since 2009. This continued rise in poverty in New Jersey is unsurprising, given the state’s weak economic recovery. In 2013, New Jersey added just 29,000 jobs, and by January 2014, the state had recovered only 40% of the jobs it lost during the Great Recession, compared to 91% nationwide. Read the full report here.

Issue Brief: New Jersey’s Inadequate Support of SNAP Causing Needless Hunger

New Jersey Policy Perspective (August 2014)

New Jersey’s inadequate support of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is resulting in the delay or the denial of critical food benefits to hundreds of thousands of struggling New Jerseyans and the potential loss of up $500 million in federal funds annually. This is due to the State's rejection of “Heat and Eat” benefits that is resulting in cuts to the most vulnerable, poor outreach that is leaving hundreds of thousands of eligible New Jerseyans without benefits, and long delays in processing applications that could result in a major federal financial penalty. Read the full report here.

Raising the Tipped Minimum Wage Would Increase the Economic Security of Many Hard-Working New Jerseyans

New Jersey Policy Perspective (July 2014)

Though raising the New Jersey minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2013, the state minimum wage for tipped workers remains tied to the federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13. Though employers are legally required to make up the difference if the tipped minimum wage and gratuities do not add up to the minimum wage, employees bear the responsibility of asking their employers to do so. Unsurprisingly, people have reported fear of reprisals for asking that their supervisors make up the gap and 1 in 10 workers in tipped occupations reports not being paid the legally required wage. Increasing the state tipped minimum wage would provide economic security to approxiamately 140,000 New Jerseyans. Read the full report here.

Shortchanging New Jersey Students : How Inadequate Funding Has Led to Reduced Staff and Growing Disparities in the State’s Public Schools

Education Law Center (July 2014)

New Jersey's school funding formula, the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA), has been consistently underfunded since 2010, and has resulted in school districts moving further away from "adequacy," or the level of funding that is required to deliver State academic standards to all students. This report analyzes the impact of underfunding on school level personnel using staffing data from the New Jersey Department of Education. The report concludes that the most inadequately funded schools experience the highest level of workforce reduction and serve the State's poorest students and that the formula's underfunding has widened the gap between adequately and inadequately funded districts. Read the full report here.

New Jersey’s Surge in Business Tax Subsidies Reaches New Heights

New Jersey Policy Perspective (June 2014)

New Jersey has awarded more than $4 billion in tax subsidies and credits to businesses this decade in a largely unsuccessful attempt to spur economic activity and boost the state’s crawl out of the Great Recession. As the total amount of subsidies has boomed, so has the cost of deals with individual companies, with a sharp increase in those worth more than $100 million. Meanwhile, the cost of a job tied to a subsidy award has nearly tripled and an increasing share of New Jersey subsidies are going to retain jobs that are considered “at risk” of leaving the state instead of creating new positions. Read the full report here.

Heading Off Hunger: A Snapshot of Child Nutrition in Newark

Advocates for Children of New Jersey (June 2014)

A growing number of Newark children depend on school meals and food stamps to get the nutrition they need to grow up healthy and become productive members of their communities. As summer starts, those supports are even more important when school-age children who rely on school meals to stay nourished may have limited access to healthy food. The report also finds that while the city, school districts and many community-based programs offer child nutrition and fitness programs, it is nearly impossible to measure whether children’s nutritional needs are being met with healthy foods. Read the full report here.

Increasing the Minimum Wage to $10.10: A Win-Win for New Jersey

New Jersey Policy Perspective (April 2014)

Raising the wage to $10.10 an hour would impact a total of 724,000 New Jerseyans, or 18.6% of the workforce. Of these 724,000 workers, 87% are working adults over the age of 20. These workers, if they work 40 hours each week of the year, have pre-tax annual earnings between $17,000 and $25,000 – still less than the absolute minimum of $28,593 that it takes for a single adult in New Jersey to meet his or her basic needs. Read the full report here.

2014 New Jersey Nonprofit Trends and Outlook

Center for Non-Profits (March 2014)

This annual survey of the New Jersey non-profit community was conducted in January 2014 to gauge experiences, trends, and expectations of non-profit groups. The survey tracks prior year funding and expenses, outlook for the coming year, and actions taken by non-profits to address trends. Non-profits reported modest signs of improvement of circumstances relative to the previous year, but increased demand for services and flat or uncertain funding streams continue to create a cautious outlook. Read the full report here.

Newark Kids Count 2014: A City Profile of Child Well-Being

Advocates for Children of New Jersey (February 2014)

Newark children improved in eight of 10 critical measures of child well-being over a 10-year span, but they still face more poverty, health and education issues than children statewide. The annual report by Advocates for Children of New Jersey finds that fewer Newark children were in foster care, fewer teens had babies, more children had health insurance, more children attended preschool and more high school graduates went to college over a 10-year span. Read the full report here.

Newark children improved in eight of 10 critical measures of child well-being over a 10-year span, but they still face more poverty, health and education issues than children statewide, according to Newark Kids Count 2014, released today.

The annual report by Advocates for Children of New Jersey found that fewer Newark children were in foster care, fewer teens had babies, more children had health insurance, more children attended preschool and more high school graduates went to college over a 10-year span.

- See more at: http://acnj.org/newsroom/news-releases/02_06_2014-newark-kids-make-progr...

Newark children improved in eight of 10 critical measures of child well-being over a 10-year span, but they still face more poverty, health and education issues than children statewide, according to Newark Kids Count 2014, released today.

The annual report by Advocates for Children of New Jersey found that fewer Newark children were in foster care, fewer teens had babies, more children had health insurance, more children attended preschool and more high school graduates went to college over a 10-year span.

- See more at: http://acnj.org/newsroom/news-releases/02_06_2014-newark-kids-make-progr...