NJ Reps urge for cost of living increase amid COVID-19

New Jersey Congressional delegation calls for cost-of-living adjustments for coronavirus stiumlus funds, nothing that the adjustments would take into account the needs of residents who live in high-cost states.

23 Mar 2020 | 12:03

    On Monday, March 23, 2020, U.S. Representatives Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) and Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) led a bipartisan group of New Jersey’s Congressional delegation to urge Congressional leadership to make regional cost-of-living adjustments to potential stimulus funds to Americans and businesses. This will ensure that residents in higher cost states are not erroneously excluded from needed assistance.

    Currently, Congress is considering legislation that would provide direct resources to individuals and businesses nationwide to support both households and the American economy amid the coronavirus outbreak.

    “This health-related economic slowdown threatens the ability of New Jersey residents to pay for their housing, afford food, or purchase necessary products to protect their health during the pandemic,” wrote the Members in a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “As you consider further legislative packages to assist our communities that have been impacted by the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we request that cost of living adjustments for localities are made when considering economic stimulus payments to residents and businesses. Doing so would help ensure that New Jersey residents are not erroneously excluded from needed assistance.”

    According to a recently published study by the St. Louis Federal Reserve, based on data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, a New Jersey household yearly income of $66,876 provides the same standard of living as a salary of $47,884 in Mississippi or $49,992 in Arkansas.

    The letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is signed by U.S. Representatives Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Andy Kim (NJ-3), Tom Malinowski (NJ-7), and Jeff Van Drew (NJ-2).

    The New Jersey delegation's letter requesting financial adjustments for residents living in high-cost states:
    The letter is as follows;
    The Honorable Nancy Pelosi The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
    Speaker of the House Minority Leader
    H-232, U.S. Capitol H-204, U.S. Capitol
    Washington, D.C. 20515 Washington, D.C. 20515
    Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy:
    As you consider further legislative packages to assist our communities that have been impacted by the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we request that cost of living adjustments for localities are made when considering economic stimulus payments to residents and businesses. Doing so would help ensure that New Jersey residents are not erroneously excluded from needed assistance.
    A study recently published by the St. Louis Federal Reserve, based on data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, showed that New Jersey has one of the highest costs of living in the nation. In New Jersey, a household yearly income of $66,876 provides the same standard of living as a salary of $47,884 in Mississippi or $49,992 in Arkansas. Although this high cost of living means that average yearly salaries are higher for residents, it does nothing to mitigate the devastation the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the 8.9 million Americans and 861,373 small businesses that call New Jersey home.
    On Saturday, March 21, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued an executive order mandating that all non-essential retail businesses close and that state residents only leave their homes if necessary. Health experts agree that this is what is necessary to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus and the strain the pandemic is having on our healthcare system. However, without the ability for people to work and spend money within the local economy, employees of small and medium-sized businesses will be particularly impacted. This health-related economic slowdown threatens the ability of New Jersey residents to pay for their housing, afford food, or purchase necessary products to protect their health during the pandemic.
    We look forward to working with you further on this important matter and urge you to utilize all tools available to assist our local communities.
    Sincerely,
    Josh Gottheimer Mikie Sherrill
    MEMBER OF CONGRESS MEMBER OF CONGRESS
    Jefferson Van Drew Donald M. Payne, Jr.
    MEMBER OF CONGRESS MEMBER OF CONGRESS
    Bonnie Watson Coleman Andy Kim
    MEMBER OF CONGRESS MEMBER OF CONGRESS
    Tom Malinowski
    MEMBER OF CONGRESS