Senators Jennifer Beck (R-11), Michael Doherty (R-23) and Joe Kyrillos (R-13) sent letters today inviting Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto to join their effort to achieve vacation and sick leave reform.
Senators Jennifer Beck, Mike Doherty and Joe Kyrillos invited Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto to join their effort to achieve vacation and sick leave reform. (SenateNJ.com)
Their invitation follows the publication of a story by NJ Spotlight today putting the total accumulated liability of towns, counties, and school districts for unused sick and vacation time at nearly $1.9 billion.
In the letter, the senators note that New Jersey residents pay the highest property taxes in the nation, and highlight the bipartisan effort to enact the two-percent cap in 2010.
“When few people thought it was possible, Republicans and Democrats in both houses of the Legislature came together to pass the property tax cap,” said Doherty. “That was a good demonstration of what’s possible, but much more remains to be done. Ending the sick and vacation leave payout abuses that contribute to our state’s property tax crisis should be low-hanging fruit that we can accomplish together if given the opportunity.”
At least fifteen different bills have been introduced by both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and General Assembly that seek to achieve vacation and sick leave reform in some fashion, including:
- S-849 (Stack-D, Cardinale-R) Limits certain unused sick leave pay and vacation leave carry-forward for public officers and employees.
- S- 2947 (Beck-R) Limits certain unused sick leave pay and vacation leave carry-forward for public officers and employees.
- A-653 (Munoz-R, O’Scanlon-R) Prohibits payment to public employees at retirement for certain unused sick leave, provides for forfeiture of payment for unused sick leave for certain criminal convictions, and requires documentation for use of sick leave.
- A-2851 (Lampitt-D) Limits use and supplemental compensation for certain leave; limits employment for certain public employees.
“New Jersey property taxpayers have a nearly $2 billion sword hanging over their heads that can drop at any time,” said Beck. “They don’t care who gets credit for cleaning up this mess, and neither do we. We’re willing to consider any vacation and sick leave reform legislation that’s good for middle-class property taxpayers. We hope the Senate President and Assembly Speaker will give us that opportunity.”
Kyrillos pointed to the six-figure payouts that some retiring public employees take home at taxpayer expense as especially troubling.
“When you’re struggling to pay your $8,500 property tax bill, it hurts to know that every dollar that you and 40 or 50 of your neighbors are paying is going to fund someone’s $400,000 retirement check,” added Kyrillos. “With fifteen different bills introduced, it’s clear that legislators on both sides of the aisle believe these payouts need to be addressed. We invite Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Prieto to join with us and the many other concerned legislators who are ready to achieve vacation and sick leave reform.”
Click here to view the letter from Senators Beck, Doherty and Kyrillos to the Assembly Speaker and Senate President.
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