Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford) wants the pension and benefits reform package that passed the Senate on Monday to be signed into law quickly so that local governments can use the savings in next year’s budgets, and says that reforms of New Jersey’s authorities, commissions and boards should move on a parallel track.
Sweeney says that Assembly amendments to the reform bills to include authorities, commissions and boards would mean the legislation would have to come back to the Senate for another vote. He opposes a delay.
Let’s get the recommendations of the joint session to the Governor’s desk now. On a parallel track, the Legislature can work with the Governor to take a hard look at the authorities and adopt the necessary reforms.”
Citing an Office of Legislative Services (OLS) review, Sweeney says county and local governments and school districts could save more than $300 million in the next fiscal year by requiring employees to contribute 1.5% of their salary towards their health benefits.
“The most important thing must be to make these bills law so local governments can immediately begin to reap their benefits,” said Sweeney. “School districts already are nearing the end of their budget process, and many towns are now beginning theirs. They need to know how they can budget now for achievable savings next year and beyond, especially where the cost of health care is concerned.”