June 15, 2011
League Statement Regarding Pension and Health Benefits Reform
Bill Dressel, Executive Director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, issued the following statement following press accounts of an impending deal between the Administration and legislative leaders on pension and health benefits reform.
“Since the passage of the 2% hard cap last July, nearly every municipality in the State has undergone a budget process without the overwhelming majority of the management reforms that were promised. Many have been forced to severely reduce vital services, including personnel reductions, and make other difficult and often draconian budget choices.
s long-time advocates of pension and health benefit reform, needed to moderate one of the main cost drivers for municipal budgets, we are encouraged by reports that the Christie Administration, Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Oliver are near an agreement on the much needed reforms. These costs are outside the control of municipal governments and serve to drive up local costs, which must in turn force cuts elsewhere in the budget, often to valued and vital public services. “
Orange Mayor Eldridge Hawkins, Co-Chair of the League’s Management Reform Committee stated,
"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 tax payers. I applaud the efforts of those who would craft such legislation which would accomplish this while protecting our current retirees and grandfathering those eligible for retirement by not breaking our commitment to them."
Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz, Co-Chair of the League’s Management Reform Committee, stated
“Pension and Health benefit reform must be done together. We do not want a repeat of last summer, when towns were given a 2 % hard cap with the promise of management reforms to quickly follow and a year later we are still waiting”
Mayor Hawkins and Mayor Diaz will be joined by Mayor of Fanwood Colleen Mahr in testifying on the pension and health benefit reform before the Senate Budget and Appropriation Committee on Thursday, June 16, 2011.
For more information, please contact Lori Buckelew, Senior Legislative Analyst, 609-695-3481 x112 or 732-895-9611.