NJ Governor Approves Pay Raises for Judges, Lawmakers, and Legislative Staff in New Legislation

Trenton, New Jersey – Governor Phil Murphy has signed nearly 80 bills into law during the final hour of New Jersey’s 2022-23 legislative session. One of the bills approved by Murphy provides pay raises to judges, legislative staff, and lawmakers. Additionally, the bill increases allowances given to legislators to cover their staff salaries.

Starting in 2026, members of the Legislature will see their annual salary increase from $49,000 to $82,000. This raise marks the first increase since 2002 for New Jersey legislators who are considered part-time. The allowance they receive to pay their staffs will also rise from $135,000 to $150,000.

Various positions, including the governor, will receive a $35,000 raise, bringing their annual salary from $175,000 to $210,000. However, the increase for the governor will only go into effect after Murphy leaves office. On the other hand, members of the governor’s cabinet and executive directors for the full-time legislative staffs for both parties in the Assembly and State Senate will see the raise take effect this year.

Except for Lt. Gov. Tahesha Way, who also serves in the Cabinet as secretary of state, all other cabinet members last received a raise in 2018.

Alongside the legislation providing pay raises, Murphy also signed other bills into law. These bills include allocating $48 million to the state Department of Environmental Protection for land acquisition, establishing a grant program for YouthBuild, requiring a study on the regulation of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances in New Jersey drinking water supplies, and officially naming November 22 as Kimchi Day.

These new laws have sparked conversations about the cost of living in New Jersey, especially in relation to the pay increases for judges, lawmakers, and staff. Supporters argue that the raises are necessary to attract and retain qualified individuals in public service. Critics, however, express concerns about the impact on taxpayers and the potential for widening income inequalities.

Governor Murphy’s decision to sign these bills showcases the conclusion of the 2022-23 legislative session and sets the stage for the coming years in New Jersey politics. The pay raises and other legislation will shape the state’s governance, environmental efforts, job training initiatives, and even cultural recognition. As residents and stakeholders come to terms with these changes, the impact of these decisions will undoubtedly shape the future of the Garden State.