StayNJ Checks: Who gets them first? Bureaucrats, says Bergen

StayNJ Checks: Who gets them first? Bureaucrats, says Bergen

TRENTON, N.J. – The task force members for StayNJ were announced Monday, but how much they will be paid wasn’t. That stood out to Assemblyman Brian Bergen, who noticed Gov. Phil Murphy failed to say how much money the force’s executive director will be given.

“While seniors have to wait three years to receive a check that may never come, an appointed bureaucrat won’t have to wait,” said Bergen (R-Morris). “This is typical New Jersey politics, quicker to help government officials than taxpayers.”

Murphy appointed the executive director, who will be paid from the $2 million appropriated to the task force under the StayNJ law. Taxpayers won’t receive a tax credit until an unspecified time in 2026. The director, however, will be paid for the next 24 months. If the entire $2 million is spent for his salary, it comes to a little more than $83,000 per month.

“Everybody who knows Murphy’s appointee knows he is more than qualified, that isn’t the problem,” continued Bergen. “The problem is that this program is so poorly structured and so unlikely to happen that taxpayers are on the hook for another expense without any benefit. Democrats haven’t even appropriated enough money to pay for it because taxpayers can’t afford it.”

The expected cost is $1.3 billion, but the bill only appropriates $600 million: $100 million in FY2024, $200 million in FY2025, and $300 million in 2026.

Implementation of the program is expected by January 2026, according to the law, and the first tax credit will apply to the first quarter of that year. Murphy, Speaker Craig Coughlin, and Senate President Nick Scutari were already more than three months late on appointing the task force, which resulted in a missed progress report. Despite flouting the law they passed, no consequences for missing statutory deadlines were included in the bill.

“Democrats set these deadlines and they miss them all the time. Just like the budget every year, committees are voting on legislation that isn’t finished yet,” Bergen lamented. “Unemployment and ANCHOR checks are months late, and it takes months for people on disability and family leave to get their benefits while they aren’t receiving a paycheck. This is what governing looks like in New Jersey under Democrats, and it’s unacceptable.”