A group of Assembly Democrats are moving forward with part of a union-friendly benefit reform strategy on Thursday morning with a police and fire pension plan that increases contributions, but avoids the elimination of cost of living increases that Gov. Chris Christie has made a high priority. Several statehouse and lower chamber sources confirmed this Wednesday night.
The bill, sponsored by Assemblymen Joe Cryan (D-20), of Union Township, and Jason O’Donnell (D-31), of Bayonne, who both work in public safety, would increase pension contributions by police and firemen and contribute the monies to municipal relief in the short-term, according to a source knowledgeable of the bill. After three years, the increased contributions would be dedicated to the already healthy-by-comparison police and fire pension funds.
The bill would also tier the contribution levels by salary, the source said, similar to state Sen. President Steve Sweeney’s (D-3), of West Deptford, reform package.
The Assembly plan was formed in conjunction with the PBA and the FMBA, and has the backing of over 26 Assemblypersons, according to a source.
Notably, the plan calls for a cost-saving reconfiguration of cost of living increases, which Christie wants eliminated.