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Pallone Leads Bipartisan Delegation Letter Calling for State Funding to Supplement 2020 Census Count in New Jersey

March 27, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) led a bipartisan letter from every House Representative of the New Jersey Congressional delegation to Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney, and Assembly Speaker Coughlin calling for state funding to supplement the 2020 census.

“The census has historically failed to fully count minorities, immigrants, young children, and those in low-income households,” Members wrote. “If these groups are not counted, they may not receive the services and resources that would have otherwise been allocated. This could have a serious impact on the federal funds New Jersey receives for safety net programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid, as well as funding for infrastructure projects. While the U.S. Census Bureau itself estimates that in the 2010 census it had a net undercount of 31,000 in New Jersey, it is possible the figure was actually much higher.”

Representative Pallone and the New Jersey delegation are asking for a robust state appropriation to supplement the federal census efforts. These funds will help ensure New Jersey is on par with other states that are aggressively funding similar efforts.     

U.S. Representatives Christopher H. Smith (NJ-04), Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), Albio Sires (NJ-08), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), Andy Kim (NJ-03), and Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02) all signed the letter.

Full text of the letter can be found here and below:         

Governor Phil Murphy

225 West State Street

Trenton, NJ 08608

 

Senate President Sweeney

935 Kings Highway

West Deptford, NJ 08086

 

Assembly Speaker Coughlin

569 Rahway Avenue

Woodbridge, NJ 0709

 

Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Coughlin:

We write to ensure that the rapidly approaching 2020 census is a high priority for lawmakers in New Jersey this budget cycle. We must do everything we can to supplement the U.S. Census Bureau to make certain that New Jersey achieves a complete count in the 2020 census.

As you are likely aware, the 2020 census questionnaire is set to go to print in June 2019. The constitutionally required process of counting every person living in the United States, regardless of one’s citizenship status, is essential in determining where more than $675 billion of federal funding is allocated every year.  New Jersey received an estimated $17.6 billion in federal assistance from the 16 largest programs that distribute funds based on the census during fiscal year 2015. These funds are distributed to local governments to support important services utilized by many of our residents.

The census has historically failed to fully count minorities, immigrants, young children, and those in low-income households. If these groups are not counted, they may not receive the services and resources that would have otherwise been allocated. This could have a serious impact on the federal funds New Jersey receives for safety net programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid, as well as funding for infrastructure projects. While the U.S. Census Bureau itself estimates that in the 2010 census it had a net undercount of 31,000 in New Jersey, it is possible the figure was actually much higher.

The formation of the New Jersey Complete Count Commission was an important step in addressing the 2020 census count. The commission is set to expire in June and its tasks would continue under the Secretary of State. Our hope is that the state would provide robust funding for the secretary’s efforts to ensure a proper and adequate count of all our residents. Legislation was introduced in the State Senate, S.3478, and the State Assembly, A.5056, which would provide an appropriation of $9 million or approximately one dollar per resident for the state to supplement the U.S. Census Bureau’s efforts.

We are ready to work with all of you to develop a robust plan to execute census education and awareness programs throughout the state and would welcome any opportunity to join you at public events in order to count every New Jerseyan. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

 

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