We last saw a pandemic similar to the current one about 100 years ago, but the Census comes around much more frequently.
And with that in mind, Phil Murphy deviated from his coronavirus briefing Saturday to urge New Jersey residents to complete Census forms. The state’s performance so far hasn’t been awful. Its response rate at the moment is just under 60 percent, which places the state 21st in the nation regarding compliance.
That’s in the top half, but not good enough for the governor.
“I want to be a top 10 state,” Murphy said.
He reminded people that the state’s population determines how much it gets in federal grants and aid, which is a front and center concern today. Murphy often has talked about the need for federal aid to help
carry the state through the pandemic.
Murphy said that when federal aid is doled out, “Let’s make sure we get it here in New Jersey.” He said one of the problems is that New Jersey was “undercounted” in the 2010 Census.
Another problem, of course, is politics. Noting that aid always goes somewhere, he said that if New Jersey doesn’t get its fair share, the money could end up in Kentucky.
He probably didn’t pick Kentucky out of the blue, given the fact a few weeks ago the governor was condemning Mitch McConnell for saying states like New Jersey could just declare bankruptcy.
Of course, whether it’s Kentucky, Alaska or Maine, the governor’s bottom line is that New Jersey can avoid losing its rightful amount of aid if residents just fill out their Census form. The deadline for doing so has been extended to Oct. 31.
As of now, Murphy is not calling those who fail to do so, “knuckleheads.”
Maybe next week.