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March 26, 2009

Re:      Binding Arbitration Reform Needed Now

Dear Mayor:

As a follow up to our letter of March 18, we cannot express enough the importance of urging your Trenton representatives to focus on reform of the binding interest arbitration law that governs labor contracts between municipalities and their police and fire departments.

With much discussion focused on consolidation as a means of reducing costs for towns; it is imperative to emphasize binding arbitration is a major mandate that is one of the leading causes of the rise in property taxes. Binding arbitration is the primary reason for the continual increase of the cost of government as it has become a system that heavily favors public safety unions.

Local governments will face extremely large liabilities in years to come. The cost of medical coverage is spiraling out of control with a compounded impact because of the longevity of retirees.  Economic pressure on the property tax dollar places basic municipal services and maintenance of infrastructure at risk. There simply is no justification for the continued huge increases awarded by arbitrators without consideration of the financial impact on taxpayers. The uncertainties in this economic climate demand reform now.

The urgency of this issue was mentioned in testimony before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on March 23 and again in testimony before the Assembly Budget Committee on March 26. Please add your voice and implore the Legislature and the Governor that we need dramatic reform now!

I draw your attention to the NY Times article of March 22 entitledHe Who Dares to Mention Police Pay”.

Many thanks for your help on this most important issue.

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.

Executive Director




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