TRENTON – Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell (D-31), of Bayonne, introduced an alternate pension reform bill today, identical to the pension component of state Sen. Steve Sweeney’s (D-3), of West Deptford, overarching reform bill, but excluding the health care component. The bill is thought to provide an option for union-backed Democrats, although some labor leaders were privately calling it too little, too late.
Some of the labor-friendly legislative leaders have flirted for weeks with an alternate plan; as State Street Wire reported, the first draft was a pension carve-out for public safety unions. A second round of planning was focused on providing a substantially different version of the Sweeney reforms, but the final version was nothing more than a splitting of two major issues.
Majority leaders of both chambers, state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-18), of Metuchen, and Joe Cryan (D-20), of Union Township, have been organizing the counter proposal behind the scenes.
Anthony Wieners, president of the state PBA, said earlier that the alternate bill would provide property tax relief, but was not up to date on the latest status of the alternate bill. The proposal put forth by O’Donnell is identical to the pension portion of Sweeney’s bill.