Business Report: State budget, guaranteed income, COVID-19 testing

NJ Spotlight News crunched some numbers and found there’s nearly $2.4 billion in pandemic-related federal funding that’s included in Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed budget. The money aims to help the state recover from the impact from COVID-19 by providing funding for new COVID-19 testing, and to cover new expenses for local and state governments and schools. The $2.4 billion is from the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which is a short-term funding source.

Even before the pandemic hit, New Jersey had thousands of economically vulnerable people. One idea gaining traction as a way to support low income residents is providing them with a guaranteed income. That’s a cash payment, no strings attached. Last week, 25 mayors from across the U.S. pledged their support for guaranteed income programs, including Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh. The mayor is hoping to raise money from private sources to launch the program. Newark is also interested in launching a similar program.

CVS Health is adding 21 new drive-in COVID-19 testing sites in New Jersey as part of a move to double testing sites nationwide. CVS Health currently manages the largest number of independently run COVID-19 test sites in the country and plans to open 2,000 new sites across the US by mid-October.