Republican Leaders Decry Wasted Opportunity in Lame Duck
With both the Senate and Assembly in session today and time rapidly running out on the current legislative year, Democratic leaders in Trenton have planned dozens of votes on bills of very little substance for taxpayers, said Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Jr. and Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce.
Both chambers’ agendas have excluded consideration of substantive, unfinished reforms dealing with excessive terminal leave payments, the state’s antiquated civil service system, or capping state spending in order to build a better and more predictable business climate.
Dubbing today’s proceedings the ‘Seinfeld Session’- a legislative voting session about nothing of much consequence to taxpayers- Kean and DeCroce released the following statements decrying an opportunity wasted:
Sen. Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union):
“We were assured by the Senate President that ‘Lame Duck’ would be a substantive work session for the Legislature this year. Yet with no action in sight on terminal leave, civil service, or spending reforms it is hard to view this as anything other than a lost opportunity to help taxpayers and job creators.
“We have yet to be offered good reasons why taxpayers should pay for unused sick leave, should not be allowed to choose whether or not their community participates in a costly and inefficient civil service system, or why we shouldn’t cap state spending to make New Jersey a more competitive place for job creation.
“Real reforms have been cast aside and replaced with numerous bills of little help to the majority of New Jersey taxpayers and job creators. If this is the consequence of November’s elections, one might forgive voters for having a touch of buyer’s remorse.”
Asm. Alex DeCroce (R- Morris):
“Democrats in the Legislature understand there is an enormous liability for taxpayers regarding unused sick and vacation payouts, but they are hesitant to make fixing this matter a top priority. Just as both parties recognized that property taxpayers deserved a solution on pension and healthcare benefits and enacting the two percent property tax cap, the Democrats need to summon the same courage and deliver the same kind of relief to taxpayers on this issue.
“The accumulated liability for property taxpayers for these entitlements is $825 million and that is just at the municipal level. The Democrats’ answer to this issue is an alternative plan that would cost taxpayers at least $3.25 billion. Similar to the debate on the Cap 2.0 law in 2010, the demand to end the payouts for this perk is mounting. It’s time for the Democrats in the Legislature to get on board with the only real answer to this issue – no more payouts for unused sick and vacation time.”