A recent WalletHub study found that New Jersey is the fifth toughest state in which to retire, mainly because it's just too expensive. But a New Jersey Congressman wants to help seniors stay in the Garden State.

U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J.-5th District, spoke in Fair Lawn this week, where he said he heard from senior citizens who want to stay in New Jersey after their children leave the nest.

He said as people get older and are looking to retire, they want to downsize their homes, but are taxed for any gains that happened over the many years they owned the homes.

And Gottheimer said homes are often the greatest nest eggs of savings.

So Gottheimer's bill called The Senior Housing Improvement and Retirement Accounts IRA Act of 2020 would help seniors take money from the gains and roll them into IRAs, to avoid capital gains taxes. Seniors could then use those dollars for retirement.

Gottheimer said right now, New Jersey is No. 1 in out-migration, but "I want people to be able to stay here, where they raised their families, and when they get older they want to be around their families and their kids and their friends."

"We need to help seniors. Seniors are living longer. We need to find more ways for them to save for their retirement," he said. "They've paid all these years. They've given back to our communities for all these years. It just makes sense that we actually find a way to help them afford a way to stay in New Jersey."

People ages 55 and older who have owned their homes for at least 20 years would be eligible for the one-time tax savings, under the act.

The bill is co-sponsored by Republican John Michael Katko, of New York. Gottheimer said the bipartisan support is a help, and he's optimistic about the bill gathering support.

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