Yesterday, we testified in Trenton before a special joint hearing of the Assembly and Senate on Higher Education, with a focus on the excessive fringe benefit rates for researchers in New Jersey.
Co-chairing the committee was Senator Andrew Zwicker, a physicist from Princeton University who has put forward a bill (S2747/A4164) requiring that the state determine a separate rate for research institutions that reflects our actual costs, which are far lower than we are currently paying. Michael Zwick from the Rutgers Office of Research also testified at this hearing, and we are glad to work side by side with the university to solve this critical problem. Although we are grateful to Governor Murphy for the relief funding allocations in the state budget these past three years to offset the impact of the inflated fringe rate, we still believe that Senator Zwicker’s Fringe Relief Bill is the simplest and most elegant way to solve this problem permanently.
Yesterday’s hearing was only the first step toward this goal. The best way to see this legislation across the finish line is to keep up pressure on lawmakers. Toward this end, we are once again asking you to write to the Senate President and Assembly Speaker to make the urgency of this bill clear to them. Click here to send a message asking them to support this bill now. Feel free to add a personal story on the impact of the excessive fringe rate on your research program.
Click here if you would like to listen to an audio recording of the proceedings. Our panel on the fringe rate begins at around the 42 minute mark.
We will keep you updated on future hearings, including those at which important votes to move this legislation forward will take place, where members may be able to attend to give testimony.
Michael Matise, Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, RWJMS
Martha Soto, Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, RWJMS