Republican Assembly candidates Anthony Rottino and Joseph Caruso have come up with a novel campaign pledge.
Rottino and Caruso say that, if elected, they’ll introduce legislation that would stop paying legislative salaries until New Jersey’s tax burden is significantly reduced and the state has lower taxes than at least half of other states.
“People are losing their jobs, companies are folding or moving out of New Jersey and yet the legislators in Trenton still get paid,” said Rottino in a press release. “In the business world, if you had a track record like the state legislature does, you would be fired.”
The two are running against Republican incumbents Scott Rumana (R-Wayne) and Dave Russo (R-Ridgewood) in the District 40 GOP primary. Whoever wins the primary will likely breeze through the general election in the heavily Republican district.
Their bill would allow legislators to be reimbursed for expenses, however. The issue of health benefits was not addressed in the release.
Caruso, a manager at a shareholder communications firm, and Rottino, who owns several businesses, also needled Rumana and Russo for being lawyers.
“Lawyers thrive on regulations. The more of it there is, the better off they are,” said Rottino. “But neither one of them has an idea of what it’s like to work with those regulations to start and run a business in this state.”
Assembly Republicans Dawn Marie Addiego (R-Eveshsam) and Scott Rudder (R-Medford) have put forward a similar suggestion, though far less drastic. Rather than accept no salary, in March they announced that that they would take a 10% pay cut to show solidarity with struggling New Jerseyans. They planned to introduce legislation to cut all legislators’ salaries by the same amount.
Legislators earn $49,000 per year.