13 March 2010

You CAN Take it With You, Sadly

A newly proposed bill would require state, county and municipal employees to live in New Jersey. New employees would have four months to comply, while current employees would have to move to the state within two and a half years.

This is a bad bill for a couple of reasons. First, in a free market, people should be allowed to live where they choose. If you want them to live here, make "here" a desirable place to live. Second, it seems obvious that most of New Jersey's public employees are probably New Jersey natives who were forced to move away because they simply could no longer afford to live here. Now we are proposing to punish them again by forcing them to move back?

The real problem is not public employees who live on the other side of the river. After all, while they are working here they are actively participating in our economy - eating, shopping, gassing up the car, paying the bridge and highway tolls, etc. If legislators want to do something about negative impacts to our economy, they should look at state retirees, who take their pensions and move to Florida, or North Carolina. These folks no longer contribute to our economy at all. And this loss is in no way reciprocal as I don't think you will find many, if any, public employees from Florida, or any other state, who retire to New Jersey.

Maybe a brand new pension system should tie at least a small portion of the payout to residency - perhaps in the form of a property tax rebate to state retirees who retire here. Move away, and you lose that little piece. What do you think?

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