A Democratic proposal to limit the amount of sick pay an employee can accrue and collect upon retirement would still cost the state’s taxpayers $3.25 billion, according to numbers crunched by the Christie Administration.
The proposal would cap the amount of accrued sick pay at $7,500, a number Gov. Chris Christie said is still too high, particularly when multiplied by each of the state’s 434,017 state and local government employees. That amount is half the initial proposal from Democrats, which also had strong Republican support in the legislature. Christie believes that sick pay should have no value upon retirement.
“I think that’s stupid,” Christie said last week at a press conference. “That’s the main reason why I (conditionally vetoed) the first (Democratic bill).”
Pamela Lampitt, (D-6), of Cherry Hill is pressing for the revised legislation, calling it a significant compromise over the initial $15,000 cap. Lampitt said it is time the governor stopped playing politics.
“The Governor is taking a my-way-or-the-highway approach to ending sick leave abuse,” Lampitt said in a press release. “Unfortunately for taxpayers, the highway means they’re still on the hook for more and more expensive sick leave ‘golden parachutes.’ Each and every day the Governor chooses to play politics instead of negotiating real reform, the taxpayers lose.”
State and local workers have already accumulated $825 million in sick leave payouts, which are known as “boat checks” throughout the state because many retiring employees use them to buy boats.