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Poll: More Than Half of N.J. Residents Say They'll Retire Out of State

Cost of living, tax burden cited by majority as the reason they'll leave

The Jersey Diner in Cinnaminson. (Patch File Photo)
The Jersey Diner in Cinnaminson. (Patch File Photo)
An unaffordable cost of living and high taxes are the reason more than half of New Jersey's working adults polled recently by Fairleigh Dickinson University say they will retire outside the Garden State.

A total of 52 percent of those polled said they will move out of state upon retiring, while just 32 percent intend to remain in New Jersey, according to the university. For those who plan on leaving, a strong majority – 57 percent – cited the cost of living and the state's tax burden as being behind their decision to flee.

“People are living longer and need their retirement savings to last beyond what previous generations expected," said Krista Jenkins, director of the PublicMind Polling Institute and professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson. "Future retirees are obviously looking for places where they can stretch their dollars, and New Jersey isn’t looking too affordable these days."

The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 699 New Jersey non-retiree adults was conducted by telephone with both landlines and cell phones from May 27 through June 1. Across the board, affordability and taxes were the most common reasons provided for wanting to leave the state, university officials said.

Those 40 and older, and white non-retirees, were the most likely groups to cite affordability and taxes as their main reason for leaving the Garden State. Non-whites and those with no more than a high school diploma were, overall, less likely than most to express concern with affordability in retirement, but poll findings offered "indisputable evidence" of the concerns residents have about the state’s income tax, particularly for retirees, the university said in a statement.

The second-highest reason given for wanting to leave the state – by 15 percent of respondents – was the desire for a different or warmer climate.

Of those wanting to leave, 40 percent said they'll look to a southern state. About 14 percent said they would remain somewhere in the northeast and 13 percent said they will likely move abroad. A fifth of those wanting to leave are undecided about their future destination.

There was already some political fallout from the poll, the results of which were released Monday morning.

State Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union, Morris, Somerset) said his fellow legislators must address the interest arbitration law which expired on March 31 and pass reforms on public employee retirement payouts.

The interest arbitration law capped raises arbitrators could award to public employee unions at 2 percent.

Bramnick's call for retirement payout reform comes on the heels of an NJ.com report over the weekend that Lodi Police Chief Vincent Caruso will receive a $342,000 payout for unused sick and vacation time when he retires, which has forced the municipal government to borrow the money.
Beach_N8iv June 14, 2014 at 11:30 AM
CC, vote them out? Who will replace them? Would they be even worse? I'm New Jersey born and raised but I'm looking to retire elsewhere, maybe even another country.
CC June 14, 2014 at 12:58 PM
In my opinion, both sides (Democrats AND Republicans) are trying to hold their ground and NOT negotiate issues that are costing ALL of us to lose money big time while THEY are reaping the gravy train that WE ARE funding!!! I heard them talk today on the news about the amount of money Cantor spent on just FOOD and STEAKS!! They are ALLLLL doing this. Please don't reply and tell me it's just one sided. So, I feel since NOTHING else is working - why not try to vote em all OUT when they are up for re-election?! If WE stick together and NOT be afraid of the new guy (because it can't get much worse than it is with the clowns we now have in office), one thing will certainly happen.......they WILL listen to us!!! They work for US. Would you be in your job if you didn't cut out the B.S. and make the company you work for money?!! You can bet WE WOULD be fired!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Americans are becoming politically correct chickens. If we took a stand, it wouldn't matter who was in office - they (I believe) would listen to the people. IDK - nothing else has worked.
c June 19, 2014 at 09:29 AM
This is a problem for NJ government and the taxpayers as the wealth is leaving the state. 50 billion in the last few years. Just wait till the majority of the boomers leave, taking the rest of the wealth. Then see how the taxes have to be raised to pay for the blob, the bloated governments (county such as Union, Essex, Hudson) and the state of NJ. The smart kids are leaving NJ when they go out of state to college, so the parents have no reason to stay. Housing prices will go down because no one will be able to afford them, and the property taxes, except the New Yorkers who flee their even worse state.
Joe R June 19, 2014 at 09:50 AM
Oh baloney, wealth is not leaving NJ, at least not in the sense that you think. NJ has one of the highest percentage of millionaires and billionaires in the country. NJ is one of the richest states in the country. Rich people are not fleeing their wealthy enclaves (even with the high property taxes) such as Princeton or where the governor lives, quite the opposite. According to the last census and almost all of the previous censuses, NJ gained in population. It's still the most densely populated state in the country. The problem is that the big corporations are given all kinds of tax breaks, tax holidays, tax abatements, land giveaways, subsidies and sweetheart deals that either services have to be cut or taxes have to be raised on the rest of us who do not have the clout of Walmart or some billionaire sports team owner.
Charlie Kime June 23, 2014 at 04:40 AM
That's an interesting comment Joe R. Five of our neighbors within a two block radius have left the state in the past year. They left for work, retirement, downsizing, etc. This will repeat itself more and more as baby boomers retire. Those remaining are left with the second highest state and local taxes in the country, the worst finances of any state, and an $84bn unfunded liability on risk-free public pensions & unlimited healthcare costs that NJ tax payers have to cover. There has been very little new job creation in NJ mainly because businesses find the state so unfriendly. Only someone benefitting for a sweetheart deal in NJ, i.e. a public pensioner, could complain that it is sweatheart deals for big corporations that drive up our taxes. That's patently false.

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