In a Nutshell: As rising taxes spur migrations away from high-cost areas in the United States, Linden, New Jersey, stands out as an affordable, opportunity-filled destination. The city offers an influx of new industries, ongoing development, a thriving foodservice sector, and proximity to urban areas. Linden’s consistently low rate of taxation — and a commitment to keeping that rate low — can provide entrepreneurs the runway they need to save income early and reduce debt. For its commitment to low taxes, business development, and a high quality of living, Linden has earned our Editor’s Choice™ Award as a Top City for Reducing Debt.
In 2020, many businesses and corporations shifted to remote work to accommodate public safety regulations imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. That created greater flexibility for employees, and some relocated to more comfortable remote work environments.
That shift comes amid an increasing migration away from high-tax states, including New York, to lower-tax states. Many remote workers who move don’t need to worry about finding new jobs or experiencing a fluctuation in income. They are free to save more of their earnings and pay down debt rather than spend it on the local cost of living.
Linden, New Jersey, is a prime location that is starting to gain popularity with both remote workers and businesses. The city has held its low taxes steady for several years, and its current economic growth makes it an excellent destination to earn and save simultaneously.
“Linden is very affordable,” said Mayor Derek Armstead. “Taxes haven’t increased for Linden itself in over five years. We have lowered and lowered taxes, and have allowed a better quality of life for residents. Keeping the taxes low and not increasing — that has helped them.”
The city’s employment and leisure opportunities make it a prime location for anyone seeking a change. Its affordability means residents can decrease costs and keep more money in their pocket for savings or eliminating debt.
For its commitment to low taxes, business development, and a high quality of life, Linden has earned our Editor’s Choice™ Award as a Top City for Reducing Debt.
Corporate Influx Increases Job Opportunities
Traditionally, Linden has been an industrial town. But in recent years, its economy shifted as new employers arrived.
“There is still a significant amount of industrial businesses that are still here,” Armstead said. “You have Phillips 66, who is a major employer, Citco, and Amazon has recently moved here.”
Another recent arrival is the clean energy company RNG, an anaerobic digester plant set to open September of 2022. The plant will collect organic waste, such as food waste, grocery store waste, and restaurant waste to convert into bio-methane and then pipeline quality gas. The project will be one of the largest carbon reductions, renewable and sustainable resource projects in New Jersey.
The warehousing developments in Linden is growing undoubtably. The three warehousing developments coming to Linden total over 5 million square feet in property area. One of Linden’s biggest warehousing developments is the Linden Logistics Center, which is partnered by Advance Realty Investors and Greek Development. This warehouse is approximately 4.5 million square feet and may generate more than 3,000 jobs.
Linden has also seen a rise in residential development to keep pace with economic expansion. That provides jobs and accommodations for current and incoming residents.
“As far as residential buildings, we have the Capodagli Property Company’s Merida Lifestyles,” Armstead said. “There are plans to build a 400-unit property at the Old Clark property.”
Residents won’t be restricted to working in Linden. The city offers mass transit to larger urban areas, including Manhattan, which is about a 45-minute train ride away. That creates opportunities for professionals to commute to other locales, opening up the possibility of living affordably in Linden and maintaining a high-paying job nearby.
Mass transit also means that residents’ vehicles may incur less wear and tear from daily commuting. That is just another way people who move to Linden can save money and avoid debt, including personal loans for maintenance and repair.
Booming Foodservice Sector Provides Additional Growth
Linden is experiencing growth in its local food industry, creating more jobs and giving residents new options for meals.
“We’re starting to get a plethora of different fast-food restaurants,” Armstead said. “The local food scene is actually increasing in the downtown area. On Wood Avenue, we have a few different restaurants and bars that are thriving.”
Armstead said that the local food industry took a hit in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic forced restrictions on operations and occupancy. However, the foodservice industry bounced back recently and is continuing to thrive.
“We have Savannah’s, a Southern-style restaurant and lounge, and Linwood Tap House that’s a bar and restaurant. It’s pretty good. They’re just getting a lot of people coming out,” Armstead said. “We also have our newly opened Hook N Reel Cajun Seafood & Bar in Aviation Plaza and Buffalo Wild Wings in our Linden Commons plaza. The restaurant and bar scene are growing.”
Alongside those establishments, the area boasts plenty of fast-food venues for residents who want to grab a bite on the go rather than sit down for a meal.
For those who don’t feel like going out for food, the Uber Eats delivery service operates in Linden and can bring a meal to their doorstep. As restaurants continue to open in Linden, delivery services will surely remain busy, offering convenience and employment opportunities.
Recreational Amenities and Educational Focus Ensure a High Quality of Life
Besides restaurants and bars, Linden offers plenty of other opportunities to get out of the house and enjoy leisure time. Among the biggest draws are Linden’s recreational centers and the city’s parks.
“People love to go out to parks,” Armstead said. “We have over 39 parks here in Linden. People love going with their animals and children. There are always a lot of events going on.”
Health and safety restrictions have curbed some of these events. But the city and its residents look forward to safely resuming these activities soon.
“A lot of events are for our seniors,” Armstead said. “We have about five different senior buildings here in Linden. We have our local network, Channel 36 and 42, that broadcasts those different events and just different things that happen. Sometimes, you will find the people who are born and raised here, and they are full of pride.”
Linden is home to one high school as well as public elementary and middle schools. A quality education is often a significant indicator of financial success later in life. That includes the capacity to find gainful employment, manage money, and avoid harmful debt.
“Linden’s schools are good,” Armstead said. “We have great programs that address different needs, so we’re working very hard as a community to help our children.”
Prioritizing Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Incentives
Linden is proud of its low taxes, growing employment opportunities, and high quality of life for residents. And the city plans to maintain all three.
“We have an aggressive development strategy that will address both sides of the ledger,” Armstead said. “We realized that there can be no tax reduction without an approach that will address the revenue side and the response side of the ledger. We’re looking to streamline government through attrition and redefine all the processes that we are required to perform for our residents.”
That includes supporting residents and businesses during difficult times. Under the umbrella of Uptown Linden, Inc. the city’s Special Improvement District (SID) will foster economic investment, revitalization, business development, and diversity to assist small business owners.
“SID has been helping the small businesses here,” Armstead said. “When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they were able to give each of the small businesses $1,000.”
To further bolster restaurants in the wake of the pandemic, SID is implementing a program to incentivize patronage and help support the ongoing growth of the foodservice industry in Linden.
“If a customer buys food from this particular location, $100 worth of food, we give them a visa gift card in return,” Armstead said. “So, it’s an incentive trying to give back to restaurants and help people in our communities continuously shop here.”