New Jersey to Public Workers: You Want Our Money? We Want Your Taxes

It sounds good on paper, but personally I’m not buying it. In this case, "it" is a New Jersey proposal that says if the state is going to give you your paycheck, you have to live within its borders.

With our capital’s geographic presence in the middle of the state, I can’t imagine too many are commuting from Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky or Michigan to Indy. But state workers are not confined to the big city. The New Jersey bill would impact teachers, police officers and firefighters as well as all city and county government employees.

There are strong Indiana connections to Cincinnati, Chicago and Louisville in addition to numerous other areas in the four neighboring locales. I grew up in Dearborn County, a lot closer to Cincy than Indy, and a tri-state ingredient seems to be active in all four corners of the state.

The full New Jersey article is here. Below is a quick summary:

State Sen. Donald Norcross (D., Camden), the sponsor of the bill, said, "It is very simple. If you want a paycheck from New Jersey taxpayers, you should have to live here, pay your taxes here and be part of your community."

Norcross, who also leads the 85,000-member South Jersey AFL-CIO Central Labor Council, said an estimated 10,000 public employees live out of state, costing the state about $22 million in income taxes.

"What really gets me is when I look at the mass exodus every night out of Trenton to Pennsylvania," Senate President Stephen Sweeney said. "If it’s good enough to work for the state, it should be good enough to live in the state of New Jersey," he added.

Public employee unions said that while relatively few of their members work out of state, they strongly oppose the measure for those who do.

"I think it’s a ridiculous proposal," said Bob Master, regional political director for the Communication Workers of America. "It will have no meaningful impact in the long run on the state’s budget problems and it will cause completely unnecessary hardship for our members."

Master said that if New Jersey’s neighboring states were to adopt similar tactics, the results would not be pretty.