GOP Assembly leaders call for vote on bills: school choice, civil service opt-out, sick time payouts

TRENTON – A quartet of leading Republican Assembly members called on Monday for the Democratic Speaker to post three bills they said would help finish the job of reducing New Jersey’s high tax burden.

Republican Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, along with David Rible, Mary Pat Angelini and Scott Rumana, called for a trio of proposals to be put to a vote: A bill to let towns opt out of Civil Service; a bill to end the practice of paying workers sick pay; and a school choice proposal, the Opportunity Scholarship Act.

Pointing out that the state is experiencing its slowest increase in property taxes in 20 years, Bramnick called on residents to beseech their lawmakers to push for these bills.

He said the non-sick time payout bill alone would save the state approximately $880 million a year.

“We want to indicate to the Speaker and to the Democrats that we started the job in a bipartisan fashion of changing and reforming New Jersey, of reducing the tax burden, and we know it’s working,” Bramnick said in advance of today’s Assembly voting session.

Rible, whose district includes hard-hit shore communities, said homeowners and businesses in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy are asking themselves whether they want to rebuild here or not.

“We in Trenton have to help those people,’’ he said.

Bramnick said that if the state would continue to follow in a bipartisan fashion the policies of a governor who has strong approval ratings, they could reduce the tax burden even further.

Although the Democrats have been resistant so far to these proposals, Bramnick expressed some degree of optimism, pointing out that the state has seen advances in changing long-untouchable policies such as pensions and benefits of public workers.

Minimum wage hike

Reacting to the governor’s conditional veto of the minimum wage hike bill today, Bramnick said that it shows Gov. Christie is willing to compromise.

“There is a consensus that a reasonable increase is OK,’’ Bramnick said.

Christie offered to phase in a $1 hike over three years and remove the automatic cost of living increase.

GOP Assembly leaders call for vote on bills: school choice, civil service opt-out, sick time payouts