MORRISTOWN, NJ – There are a host of reasons why New Jersey residents property taxes are among the country’s worst. Chief among them: sky-high public worker retirement and benefit costs. Anyone paying attention knows that.
What even fewer people understand is how expensive New Jersey’s benefits are these days.
On Thursday, the Garden State Initiative (GSI) released “The Stark Gap Between Public and Private Employee Benefits,” a report prepared in conjunction with a Ramapo College professor which explores new employee compensation data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
What did they find?
New Jersey pays its public employees approximately 50% more for their benefits – $17.50 per hour – than the national average of $11.47. For example, the national average is $12,000 per year for public worker medical benefits compared to $20,000 in New Jersey.
Unsurprisingly, New Jersey’s public sector pays $19.14 per hour compared to $8.81 in the private sector – about 100% higher.
“As policymakers in Trenton debate modernizing public employee benefits, having a firm grasp of the facts over political rhetoric is essential,” explained GSI President Regina Egea. “This data laden analysis clearly shows that the cost of public employee benefits in New Jersey far-exceeds those of other state government entities, let alone private sector employers. Any unwillingness to adapt New Jersey to the market realities of what it takes to compete with other states for jobs and residents just inhibits the growth of our economy. New Jersey must significantly lower the cost of benefits of its public workforce if we are serious about attracting and retaining jobs.”