New Jersey’s Law Faculty Can Stay Put

Some time back, a few blogs reported on an early draft of a New Jersey bill that would seem to have required New Jersey state employees, including the law faculties of Camden-Rutgers and Newark, to maintain a New Jersey residence.  Not surprisingly, the final draft of the bill, now before Gov. Christie for his signature, contains provisions providing schools an easy way to claim exemptions for newly hired faculty (older hires being entirely grandfathered).

Though faculties will be spared, the law is incredibly stupid.  Mobile employees – that is, the cream of the crop – will be motivated to leave the State’s workforce so they can live where they want.  Though there many good reasons to shrink the size of government’s payroll, especially if the State is going to underfund its workers’ pensions, this seems like a pretty foolish way to go about it.  Maybe Governor Christie will pass up on the opportunity for cheap populism and make an articulate case for a well functioning government in the long term … but I sort of doubt it.

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4 Responses

  1. AW says:

    Cheap populism? In one of the most liberal states in the union, there’s no “cheap” political advantage (if there’s any political advantage at all) to being so hard-nosed on this issue. Christie is going to get bruised plenty for what he’s doing. Spending cuts are popular in the abstract, but when people see what the cuts specifically affect, cuts get way more controversial.

  2. jtanner says:

    Such laws are fairly common, and in my experience tend to be common in urban core areas. DC has such a law, although Congress has mandated exceptions for favored groups, and it appears that NJ has tempered the wind to an affluent group.

  3. I believe the theory of this is similar to requiring management of firms to be partially paid in the stock of the firm: You want employees to have some incentive that the institution they’re part of be successful. That, and recapturing part of the pay as revenue down the line makes employees who live inside your tax ‘watershed’ cheaper.

    I’d also question how many jobs that “cream of the crop” argument applies to. It’s really only an issue for job sites which are within easy commuting distance of the state border; Employees working well within the state will live there as a matter of simple practicality. And for many jobs there’s simply no great differential between the productivity of great, and merely adequate, employees.

    It’s not, IOW, really irrational. Whether the costs exceed the benefits is an empirical matter.

  4. Maryland Conservatarian says:

    Maybe we can flesh out that cream-of-the-crop argument; explain how NJ is lucky to have those creamers and without whom NJ would not enjoy the excellent reputation it basks in today. (Although why they wouldn’t want to live in the paradise (it is the Garden State!) they are working so hard to maintain may require additional thought).

    …and could we make a similar argument for a NJ-based company that wanted to locate to, say, Delaware because of a perceived better business climate? (…and, for all you progressives, that perception would be “reality based”.) NJ has a pretty strict WARN Act version; Should companies enjoy the same mobility that the progressives employed at the two law schools still enjoy?