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Senator Gerry Cardinale Senator Gerry Cardinale (R-39)
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Contact: Senate Republicans / (609) 847-3600
February 6, 2014
Cardinale: While Pushing for a Zero Tax Cap, Sweeney Can’t Bail on Sick Leave Reform

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Senator: There’s Still Hope After Senate President Relinquished Sponsorship of His Own Bipartisan-Supported Sick-Leave Bill

Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen) wants to work with the Senate President to finally pass bipartisan-sponsored sick leave legislation that mirrors a bill sponsored last session by Senator Sweeney.

“As the Senate President pushes an initiative to impose a zero-percent property tax cap on local entities that do not share services, he cannot neglect the billion-dollar sick leave liability that drives up property taxes in the short and long term,” Senator Cardinale said. “Sick leave reform needs to be done before you can even consider a zero-percent tax cap. A zero cap would force towns to have to bond or cut critical services at a moment’s notice to make these six-, seven- and eight-figure payouts.”

This past legislative session, Senate President Sweeney was the prime sponsor of S1564 to prohibit sick leave payouts for retiring local government employees, which carry a nearly $1 billion property tax liability in New Jersey. But he never posted the bill for a vote and relinquished sponsorship of the bill on June 24, despite it being publicly supported by most Senate Republicans.

“We can only put the brakes on property tax increases at the state level by doing all that we can to address the root cause of what makes our residents pay the most for local government,” Cardinale added.

In this new legislative session that started Jan. 14, Senate Democrat Brian Stack and Senator Cardinale introduced S79 to prohibit sick leave payouts by local government entities, limit the annual carry over of unused sick days, limit the use of sick leave in the year before retirement and require suspension and forfeiture of unused sick and vacation days for crimes touching public office.

“People are sick and tired of paying big bonuses to public employees just because those employees were lucky enough to be healthy throughout their careers,” Cardinale concluded. “And we are sick and tired of talking about the obvious need to reform the system. It is beyond time that Democratic leaders put aside the priorities of labor unions for the needs of the people. Let’s immediately have a vote on this measure.”

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