New Jersey State Senate Republican Budget Officer Tony Bucco (R-25) called on the legislative leadership to move immediately to approve the remaining parts of the “toolkit” package that have been languishing in the Legislature:
“Last July, the Legislature moved to implement a historic two-percent property tax cap in New Jersey. In the nine months since we enacted this cap that took effect January 1, the Senate and Assembly Democrats have refused to give local officials the necessary support to meet the cap for purely political reasons,” said Bucco.
Members of the Assembly Democratic Majority issued a statement today calling for action from their leadership, saying, “In these tough economic times, government must look for new ways to reduce the property tax burden on families.”
“Without a doubt, Democrat foot-dragging is the primary cause of rising property taxes in towns from Cape May to High Point. I call on the Assembly Speaker and the Senate President to hold a special session of the Legislature in April to enact these important pieces of reform legislation,” Bucco added.
The list includes:
Sick Leave: Democrats missed seven (7) opportunities to close the loophole in state law that allowed an Atlantic City employee to retire collecting nearly $300,000 in unused leave time by taking up the Governor’s conditional veto of the sick leave bill. The bill as written by the Majority did not end the practice: the Governor’s conditional veto did. THIS COULD BE A SUBSTANTIAL NEAR TERM SAVINGS TO STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT.
Civil Service: Layoffs rather than furloughs will continue as long as Democrats get their way on civil service. Any hope municipalities had of savings from civil service reform appears to have died as Democrats refuse to consider the two major issues central to achieving any savings: voter approved local opt-out and mandatory furloughs. The Democrats’ bill did not include these two points- the Governor’s CV does.
Benefits Reform: Why employees of outside organizations like the League of municipalities are allowed to be a drain on the public pension and benefits system is anyone’s guess. Perhaps someone could ask the Assembly why the bill ending this practice hasn’t even made it out of committee.
Shared Services: Legislation enabling service consolidation and sharing by local government was ignored 10 times despite the Majority’s professed desire to encourage shared services. S-2953 (Kyrillos) ends the contractual and civil service restrictions that serve as cost and regulatory barriers to shared service agreements.