Another statehouse summit, but no deal on arbitration


TRENTON – Democratic leaders left Gov. Chris Christie’ office this afternoon emptyhanded, again.

State Sen. Pres. Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange) were still hopeful a resolution would be reached tomorrow. But the bills are posted for a vote tomorrow.

“We’ve made significant progress, but we don’t have a deal,” Oliver said.

After inconclusively powwowing on Monday, the three powerhouses were discussing one of the more important toolkit bills, arbitration reform.

Sweeney said, “We’re working very, very well together.”

He said, contrary to what the governor said at his town hall meeting today, the Democrats are not backing away from their position and are still very open to compromise.

“Absolutely not, he said. “We’d never go back on our word.”

The Democrats version of arbitration reform includes a 2 percent cap, mirroring the property tax cap installed this year. But the arbitration cap, like the property tax cap, does not include health care and pensions, which Christie asked to be included.

Now Christie is touting his compromise on the point, but looking for the Dems to break on other sticking points, possibly the sunset clause which turns the reform into a pumpkin three years from now.

Sweeney told the Asbury Park Press today, “I can tell you this, we will vote tomorrow on arbitration and civil service reform tomorrow, deal or no deal.”

  Another statehouse summit, but no deal on arbitration