OLIVER & DeCROCE: PENSION & BENEFIT REFORM A PRIORITY

Bills Will be Introduced & Heard by Budget Panel

(TRENTON) — Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver and Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce on Tuesday announced the Assembly will introduce and the Assembly Budget Committee will consider the legislation to reform public worker pensions and health benefits.

The Assembly leaders said exact details haven’t been finalized, but they expect the Assembly Budget Committee to begin analyzing and reviewing pension and benefit reforms in the coming weeks.

“Taking an in-depth look at the unfinished business from the Legislature’s special property tax session, especially the need to fix our broken pension and benefit reform system, has been among my top priorities,” said Oliver (D-Essex). “We need to make changes that create a system that’s fair to both taxpayers and public workers, but we need to make sure we do this right, so I expect a thorough and careful review.”

“The issue of pensions and benefits cannot be pushed to the back burner any longer,” said DeCroce (R-Morris). “Taxpayers simply cannot afford to keep footing the bill for the exorbitant costs to support the pension and heath benefits of public employees. Gov. Christie and the leadership in both houses understand these public policies must change. This is a good first step in bringing reform to New Jersey. While debate on the challenges we face is welcome, the status quo is unacceptable. The argument that public employees are entitled to a generous benefit package because of salary differences with the private sector is no longer valid. What may have been true years ago is no longer the case. We have a responsibility to be accountable to the taxpayers and fair to those who work in the public sector.”

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