NJ Politics Digest: Senate Moves on Measure to Grant Political Appointees Big Raises

N.J. State Senate President Steve Sweeney. Max Pizarro for Observer

There’s a new governor in Trenton, and Senate President Steve Sweeney thinks that means it’s a good time to bring up an old plan to grant raises to some of the state’s top political appointees.

Sweeney has introduced a measure that would boost the pay of judges, prosecutors, Cabinet members and legislative staff, according to Politico. The senate president argues that some of the people covered by his bill haven’t received a raise in a decade. And while New Jersey is famously cash-strapped and over-taxed, Sweeney maintains such raises are small potatoes in a $35 billion state budget.

“It’s a little bit of money to ensure you try to maintain quality people in those positions,” the senate president said in the report.

The measure is similar to a plan put forth under Gov. Chris Christie.

But that legislation stalled when Christie insisted on a deal that included the legislature allow him to profit from a book deal while in office and do away with the requirement that all public notices be published in newspapers—a stance that news media claimed was Christie’s efforts to punish them for unfavorable coverage.

Sweeney’s plan would boost Cabinet members’ salary cap from $141,000 to $175,000, would raise the salaries of state judges, Supreme Court justices, prosecutors, registers of deeds and mortgages and sheriffs by $24,000 over three years. Surrogates and county clerks would receive similar raises, according to Politico.

Quote of the Day: “Murphy didn’t ask to write a book.” — Senate President Steve Sweeney, on Gov. Phil Murphy’s support for a plan to raise some state salaries. Former Gov. Chris Christie had said he would only support a similar plan if the state legislature passed a measure that allowed him to profit from a book deal.

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NJ Politics Digest: Senate Moves on Measure to Grant Political Appointees Big Raises