GOP leaders urge passage of tool kit measures

The Senate Republican leadership Monday called on the Democrats to set a date to pass the remaining tool kit resolutions.

After stating that the Senate president has said the tookit has to happen, the GOP criticized the Democrats’ inaction.

“Blatant partisan distaste for the governor has caused them to break the promise they made last year to the taxpayers,’’ Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. said at a press conference.

Sen. Diane Allen, (R-7), Burlington, said tool kit adoption should be done in order to hire back police officers and firefighters who have been unduly cut from their positions.

The GOP leaders said that towns are struggling to meet the property tax cap due to the toolkit not being adopted.  They said this was the last voting session before the budget break.

In light of that, when asked what chance there was of getting the rest of the tool kit passed before June 30, Sen. Bob Singer, (R-30), of Jackson said, “Very slim.”

Many towns, he said, already are working on temporary measures and will be faced with making steep cuts in May if there is no action on the tool kit measures that Gov. Chris Christie has championed.

The idea is that the various tool kit proposals would help municipalities and school districts cope with the 2 percent tax cap.

Among the 15 measures still not passed are S2220, which would limit certain unused sick leave payout and vacation time by public workers before retirement.

Kean said this is one of the most important of the unpassed bills. “Stop these jackpot payouts,’’ he said.

Sen. Jennifer Beck, (R-12), Red Bank, pushed for passage of S2961, which would authorize county superintendents to require implementation of shared service arrangements.

She said this bill had bipartisan support yet was defeated by the Democrats in December.

Other unadopted measures include S2391, which would allow collective bargaining on measures covered by civil service; S2011, which would eliminate seniority in civil service; and S2135, which would limit the right of appeal on disciplinary actions taken by employers against certain employees.

The GOP senators said that many of the laws passed Monday were not as necessary as these tool kit bills.

“Today we made sure dogs and cats are spayed, and that’s all fine and good,” said Sen. Joe Pennacchio, (R-26), of Passaic. But he said that the lack of action on pension and health care reform is “driving people out of the state.”

In response to the Republicans’ call for tool kit action, Senate Democratic spokesman Chris Donnelly said: “If only holding meaningless press conferences were a way to actually give taxpayers a break from the largest property tax increase we have seen in four years.

“Senate President (Steve) Sweeney’s focus is on getting his pension and health care benefits reform passed as soon as possible so that the taxpayers of New Jersey can start seeing some real savings in their property tax bills.”

 

GOP leaders urge passage of tool kit measures