U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-5) today announced a new “Stay in Jersey” campaign to urge former NYC commuters who have been working in their New Jersey residences remotely since the pandemic, to continue to do so. He also called on all NYC-based businesses to encourage and promote this concept as well, to relieve their Jersey-based employees from the daily interstate slog.
Gottheimer called on the State to provide new “Stay in Jersey” tax incentives to New York businesses that open up new regional office hubs for both full- and part-time workers living in Jersey. In a press release, Gottheimer announced that he was working with State Senator Joe Lagana (D-38) and Assemblyman Chris Tully (D-38), to draft the “Stay in Jersey” legislation.
The announcement claimed Jersey commuters could save nearly $20,000 a year by avoiding travel-related expenses such as tolls, parking, gas, and NY’s proposed “congestion tax,” which could add additional tolls when traveling to the more congested areas of Manhattan.
In his announcement, Gottheimer noted that a Jersey commuter who uses the George Washington Bridge on a regular basis, for example, can accumulate more than $4,000 a year in tolls, and parking and gas alone can surpass $10,000 a year, not including the proposed “congestion tax,” which he estimated could cost an additional $5,000 for a Manhattan commuter.
Working remotely from home has other benefits as well. As Gottheimer pointed out, a remote setup could also help give workers more time with family and friends, which the Harvard Business Review found can lead to greater productivity. Of course, there’s also a correlation between fewer cars on the roads and less pollution as well.
“We have so much going for us in Jersey. We have beautiful downtowns with great restaurants, stores, and malls, and everyone knows we have the best pizza and bagels in America. Not to mention our schools, lakes, beaches, cops and firefighters. New York City doesn’t hold a candle. We know our neighbors and recognize the friendly faces around town. Jersey is home,” said Congressman Gottheimer. “When you add it all up — the expensive tolls, the cost of parking and gas, and the congestion tax — Jersey commuters would save $20,000 a year to Stay in Jersey. And, most importantly, staying here and working from Jersey will give you more time with your family, make it easier to get home to see the kids at night or catch their baseball game, and save two and a half hours of often frustrating commuting time and lost productivity every day. Plus, by working in Jersey, it’ll even be easier to find time to grab coffee with a friend, see your doctor, or go to the dentist.”
“Proud to work on this new legislative effort alongside Congressman Gottheimer and my colleagues, Senator Lagana and Assemblywoman Swain. Together we must fight against New York City’s congestion pricing scheme to help hardworking residents work and stay in New Jersey. This effort will help families save money and time while boosting our local economy,” said Assemblyman Tully.
In his prepared remarks, Gottheimer said, “Jersey is a great state, but what isn’t so great is the commute. It sucks. In recent years, New Jersey was ranked forty-ninth in the nation for the worst commutes. Another study found that New Jersey ranked second in the nation for most workers with commutes over 60 minutes and for workers with commutes over 90 minutes. Imagine the hours you’ll save staying and working from Jersey.”
He said more than 289,000 vehicles cross the George Washington Bridge from Bergen, Sussex, Warren, and Passaic counties, and from all over the state every day.
“And for those who say, why not just take public transit, the answer is simple: unfortunately, for many people who live in North Jersey, there just aren’t mass transit options. If you’re in Franklin Lakes, or Newton, or Knowlton, or West Milford, your options are limited — too few regular bus lines, if any, and too many failing trains. People have no other choice but to hop in their car for the commute.”
Gottheimer noted that one aim is also to fill up empty real estate in office parks to create regional Jersey-based hubs for NYC businesses through various business incentives.
“New Jersey has NJ Emerge and Grow NJ that offer tax breaks to companies that remain or move into the state, and have employees in the office 60 percent of the time. This legislation will build on that.”
He concluded by saying, “It’s time to Stay in Jersey. For the good of Jersey. For the good of our families and our state.
As Gottheimer’s colleagues are still in the process of drafting this proposed legislation, it is too early to determine when such a law could reach the State Senate, or the governor’s desk for passage.