Why Did The New Jersey Legislature Vote Themselves A Pay Raise
Living in New Jersey can be expensive and in a world with rising cost of living expenses, most people would be happy to hear when someone receives a pay raise. But when Politicians vote themselves a pay increase, it becomes a topic of contentious conversation.
On Monday, the New Jersey legislature passed Bill A5910/S4266 which authorizes an increase in the annual salaries for State Senators, Assemblyman, and the Governor starting in 2026. The members of the State Legislature will receive an annual salary increase from $49,000 to $82,000 a year.
This is an aggressive pay increase that the average citizen may be disgusted to see Politicians give themselves considering these "Public Servants" tend to already have an infamous reputation. The New Jersey Legislature has not received a Salary Increase since 2002 and $49,000 is not worth as much as it used to be 20 years ago. Also, this Bill passed through a lame-duck session of the State Legislature which means that some of the people who voted "Yes" to this pay increase will personally never see that money themselves.
As I mentioned earlier, living in New Jersey is expensive and even though having a job in the State Legislature is supposed to be a "Part-Time Job", many of these people treat it like it is a full-time responsibility for various reasons. The state of New Jersey has the third highest Household Expenses in the United States and residents of the Garden State have the highest average annual Household Income at $92,374 per year. So by those numbers, the New Jersey State Legislature will still make less money working as Politicians than many people living in the Garden State.
This Legislation did not pass unanimously (unlike the Bill to help small business owners last year), with a combined 31 State Senator and Assemblyman voting "No" along with 14 Not Voting at all. Out of the 120 State Legislature Members available to vote this session, only 61.7% voted yes to these annual raises.
Whether it is politicians who disagree with these pay raises or New Jersey citizens unhappy with the aggressive increase of these annual salaries coming in 2026, the reality is that this annual salary increase is 20-plus years overdue. But it should not be a $33,000 pay increase because you know who is going to pay for this: New Jersey taxpayers, many of whom are already struggling to pay their own bills. Remember, New Jersey has the THIRD HIGHEST Household Expenses in the United States.
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Gallery Credit: Matt Ryan