Gottheimer, Sherrill Lead Bipartisan New Jersey Congressional Delegation Call for Cost-of-Living Adjustments to Coronavirus Stimulus Funds

Mar 23, 2020
Press

Cost-of-living adjustments would help more residents in high-cost states

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). 

A copy of the letter is available HERE, the text of which is provided below.

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

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