NJ in the dark about double-dipping public officials, according to poll
It is often viewed as the poster child for New Jersey political corruption, but most New Jerseyans are not aware of double-dipping.
"Almost two-thirds (63 percent) are unfamiliar of the practice of state employees retiring, collecting a pension, and returning to work for the state while continuing to collect their pension," said Krista Jenkins, professor of political science and director of PublicMind.
After asking the respondents about their awareness of the practice, voters were then asked about whether they would support proposed legislation to put a stop to double-dippers.
"However, we find opinion divided over whether to end the practice," Jenkins said.
Just 41 percent of New Jersey voters approve of a proposed bill that would stop state pension payments to retirees who return to work for the county or state, while 49 percent who disapprove of the legislation.
When you examine the issue across party lines, a majority of Republicans support the legislation (55 percent) while a majority of Democrats (57 percent) oppose it. Independents (48 percent to 37 percent) are even more decidedly against the bill to limit retiree incomes if they retain another state job while collecting a pension.
"The fact that so many are in the dark about the issue could be why the practice continues," Jenkins said. "Clearly, a practice that is taken advantage of by both sides of the aisle is not a practice that is easy to end."
However, Jenkins believes there is room for a shift in opinion, since so many are in the dark.
"A divided electorate means there's room for both proponents and opponents of the legislation to shift the balance in their favor, assuming they're able to make some gains in their public education campaigns," Jenkins.