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June 10, 2011

Re:       S-2937, Pension and Health Benefit Reforms

Dear Mayor:

The League of Municipalities has long advocated for pension and health benefit reform.  We are encouraged by reports that the Christie Administration, Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Oliver are near a deal.

Pension and health benefit costs are among the main cost drivers for municipal budgets.  These costs are outside the control of municipal governments and serve to drive up local costs, which must in turn be met with cuts elsewhere in the budget, often to valued and vital public services.

Senate President Sweeney will be introducing S-2937, which will make various changes to the pension and health care benefits for public employees.  The bill is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee on Thursday, June 16, 2011.

It is extremely important that the Senate and the Assembly pass pension and health benefit reform legislation by June 30th in order to realize savings in this year’s budget.  We would encourage you to contact your Senate and Assembly representative as well as the Governor’s office to impress upon them the importance of passing pension and health benefit reform in an expeditious manner. 

As we have stated many times, pension and health care reform are very difficult issues to tackle in a manner that both ensures the financial solvency of the pension so it will exist in the future without over-burdening municipalities and taxpayers.  We applaud the efforts of those who would craft such legislation which would accomplish this while protecting our current retires and keeping promises made to those eligible for retirement.  We look forward to fully reviewing and evaluating the proposed legislation. 

We will provide you with more details next week.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate contact Lori Buckelew at lbuckelew@njslom.com or 609-695-3481 x112.

Very truly yours,

Hon. Eldridge Hawkins, Jr.                                           Hon. Wilda Diaz
Mayor, City of Orange                                                 Mayor, City of Perth Amboy
Chair                                                                         Deputy Chair
Management Reform Committee                                  Management Reform Committee

 

Hon. Chuck Chiarello
Mayor, Buena Vista
President
League of Municipalities

 

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