The first step in finding solutions to New Jersey’s social and economic problems is to cut through the political rhetoric, and identify facts and figures that show where the truth really lies.
Only then, once we see the data with an unbiased eye, can we start to develop solutions that will have the intended impact: to make New Jersey a better place for all of us.
Our research strategy is muiltifaceted. We search for the truth on issues so that we can make informed decisions. In 2019, we created a database and chartbook of demographic and economic data that compares the household, business, and government sectors of New Jersey to those of other states in the US that are neighboring or otherwise might be considered competing or “peer” states. We drew from a wide variety of available data sources including federal-government official statistics (Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics), state-government produced statistics and analysis, as well as some privately-produced (but publicly available) sources that provide more granular views of New Jersey’s economy.
Truth In Numbers weaved the data and charts into a “storyline” format to identify and spotlight specific situations of economic and fiscal weaknesses and burdens (on the one hand) and strengths and opportunities/assets (on the other hand) across the state. The chartbook and storyline provide the knowledge base needed to come up with well-motivated policy priorities and proposals.
When searching for solutions to our economic and social problems, we have to ask questions across a spectrum of issues and socio-economic levels. For example, what is the impact of certain policy decisions on the families in New Jersey? What industries in New Jersey create the best paying jobs? Why do so many high school students leave NJ for other states and why don’t they come back? What incentives will spur much needed economic growth? Is there a path to truly lower property taxes? The list of questions is endless, but ultimately its critical for us to look through an objective lense to see how we can fix these problems.