|New Jersey State Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) said that recommendations put forward by Governor Chris Christie to achieve sick leave reform are in line with legislative proposals that she and a bipartisan group of legislators have suggested, and again called for the Democratic majorities of the Legislature to allow any of those critical reform measures to advance to address an estimated $2 billion liability to property taxpayers for payouts for unused sick and vacation time for public employees.|
In his conditional veto message for S-3040, the Governor called for payouts for unused sick days to be capped at $7,500 or the amount already accumulated, whichever is greater.
“I’ve repeatedly called on legislative leadership to allow for the consideration of any sick leave reform proposals by members of either party that could protect taxpayers from a $2 billion property tax liability,” said Beck. “The Governor’s proposal shows a willingness to compromise and accept sick leave payout limits that are in line with both my legislation and other proposals advocated by both Republicans and Democrats. This presents a clear opportunity for the Legislature to reach agreement with the Governor on sick leave reforms that have been stalled for too long.”
In recent weeks, a number of large sick and vacation leave payouts have been reported, including a $512,000 payout to the retiring police chief of Jersey City.
Beck and Senate Republicans have attempted several times to force debate on sick leave reform legislation by the full Senate. On each attempt, the Democratic majority blocked consideration of the bills without explanation.
Senators Beck, Michael Doherty and Joe Kyrillos recently wrote letters to the Senate President and Assembly Speaker urging action on any of the fifteen different sick leave reform bills that have been sponsored by members of both parties in both houses of the Legislature, again with no response from the Democratic majorities in the Senate or General Assembly.
“The excuse Democrats have used in recent years for inaction on sick leave reform was that the Governor was unwilling to compromise,” added Beck. “In light of yesterday’s action, that no longer appears to be the case. It’s now the Democratic leadership of the New Jersey Legislature that’s the only remaining roadblock to achieving sick leave reform for New Jersey property taxpayers. All they need to do is schedule votes on existing sick leave reform bills and they can save property taxpayers billions.”