Measure Would Require All Public Employees to Live in New Jersey
TRENTON – State Senator Donald Norcross, D-Camden and Gloucester, today proposed legislation requiring all public employees in New Jersey to live in the state.
Senator Norcross said the requirement is a fair and reasonable expectation of employees whose salaries are paid by taxpayers.
“If you want a paycheck from New Jersey taxpayers, you should live here and pay your taxes here,” Senator Norcross said. “It is blatantly unfair for our public employees to collect their salaries and benefits from the taxpayers of New Jersey while paying taxes to another state. This practice must stop.”
The residency requirement of the legislation, S-1730, would cover all state, county and municipal employees as well as anyone working for political subdivisions of the state. Employees of public authorities, boards, agencies and commissions would also be subject to the measure. Additionally, the bill would cover all employees working within the educational system, including state colleges and universities.
Employees would be required to have their principal residence in New Jersey, making it their legal residence for the purposes of voting and paying taxes. They would not be permitted merely to use an in-state residence as a secondary or part-time residence.
Public employees now working in New Jersey would have 2 1/2 years from the date the law is enacted to establish their principal residence in the state. Senator Norcross said giving current employees 2 1/2 years to make the move is necessary because of the distressed housing market. It is only fair, he said, they be given enough time to adequately market their existing home and establish residency in New Jersey.
“I believe that public employees should be living and paying taxes in New Jersey, but I want to do this in a way that will not create any needless hardship on them and their families,” he said. “Two and a half years is an appropriate balance of those needs of the state and the employees.”
Newly hired employees would be required to establish a New Jersey residency within four months.
A residency policy has been routinely followed, with rare exception, for several years in the state government’s executive branch. Senator Norcross said he sees no reason not to extend the requirement to everyone on the public payroll in New Jersey.
Senator Norcross said the residency requirement is long overdue but is especially appropriate in today’s harsh economic climate. The state faces an unprecedented deficit and is planning widespread cost reductions that will eliminate or significantly curtail government programs and services. He said the measure would create a significant new revenue source that would help relieve the burden on existing taxpayers.