Assemblyman Lou Greenwald (D-Vorhees) continued to meet with behind closed doors Monday evening with Republican colleagues and representatives from the governor’s office in an effort to break a stalement on the assembly’s arbitration reform bill.
Greenwald and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Little Silver) met for a good portion of the day to hash out their differences, which center on the presence of a hrad cap on arbitration awards.
O’Scanlon and the GOP are hoping to add a hard cap of 2% on awards to Greenwald’s bill in an effort to keep it in line with the cap on tax levies passed last summer. O’Scanlon said the governor will not sign an arbitration reform bill without the cap.
The assembly budget committee, chaired by Greenwald, broke late yesterday to continue the talks, but as of 6:15 p.m. no agreement had yet been reached.
Greenwald issued the following statement:
“Property taxes are wildly out of control mainly through the failure of the arbitration process to take into consideration the financial realities and the ability of taxpayers to pay. This must change.
“I have introduced legislation that would go a long way toward controlling and constraining property taxes by turning the arbitration process upside down and shaking it to put the focus on fairness to taxpayers.
“Throughout the weekend and today I have had discussions with the governor’s office and my Assembly Democratic and Republican colleagues who have expressed the same goals and aspirations. We will continue talking throughout the night and the coming week.
“Arbitration reform is about leveling the playing field to force both sides to come to the table with a fair and final offer and require arbitrators to respect the property taxpayer and for the first time ever include the recently approved property tax cap in their final decisions.
“The budget committee has recessed today, but is prepared to come back at a moment’s notice when we reach agreement with the governor’s office.
“This is obviously a complex issue and it’s worth doing right.”