New Jersey State House by Peter Miller licensed under CC BY 2.0

“Taxpayers bear the burden of this insanity, while lawmakers ride the gravy train.” Says New Jersey Assemblyman  

On May 6, New Jersey Assemblyman Brian Bergen, introduced Bill A4290, which he has dubbed, “End the New Jersey Gravy Train Act.” The bill is designed to close a provision in New Jersey law, which allows members of the Senate or General Assembly who hold county, municipality or agency positions to collect unlimited paid days off.  

A4290 would require these members of the state Senate or General Assembly to receive approved time off without pay, while they attend regular or special sessions at the legislature. Effectively, eliminating a means that members have used to collect more money for less work.  

The fact that lawmakers who hold other governmental positions are allowed to collect a perpetual second paycheck while they are at the legislature places an extreme burden on the taxpayer. One that Assm. Bergen is seeking end and to spare the citizens of New Jersey from enduring any longer.  

Assm. Bergen’s new bill comes after the New Jersey lawmakers voted to give themselves a raise at the beginning of 2024, which boosted their salaries from $49,000 to $82,000. Assm. Bergen has been an outspoken critic of the pay raise and this is part of the motivation for his effort to remove these lawmakers’ ability to collect more money from the taxpayer.  

Assm. Bergen issued the following statement after he introduced A4290: 

“Current law allows members of the Legislature who hold county and municipal jobs to take unlimited paid days off from those jobs in order to do their legislative ‘work.’  People with some measure of conscience, morals, and ethics would feel a tinge of embarrassment about this, but New Jersey politicians have long since moved past that. Taxpayers bear the burden of this insanity, while lawmakers ride the gravy train. 

This bill would right this wrong. According to this bill, lawmakers who just gave themselves an undeserved raise to $82,000 per year will have to take unpaid time from their county or municipal jobs when they go to Trenton for their legislative “work” there. Anyone with a brain would understand that this is only fair and that the incredibly inflated and insane $82,000 a year they make as lawmakers should compensate them for their time away from their local government job.  

This bill is a small step in an important direction of ending the obscene acts by members of the Legislature to pad their pockets at the expense of taxpayers.”