Mayors testify before Assembly Budget Committee
in support of Pension and Health Benefit Reforms
Left to Right - League Executive Director Bill Dressel, Hope Mayor and League Past President Timothy McDonough, Perth Amboy and Deputy Chair of the Management Reform Committee Mayor Wilda Diaz, Orange Mayor and Chair of the Management Reform Committee Eldridge Hawkins, Jr., Linden Mayor Richard Gerbounka and Collingswood Mayor Jim Maley
A panel of Mayors testified before the Assembly Budget Committee in support of A-4133, which provides vital reforms to the State Health and Benefits systems. League Executive Director Bill Dressel was joined by Orange Mayor Eldridge Hawkins, Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz, Linden Mayor Richard Gerbounka, Hope Mayor and Past League President Timothy McDonough and Collingswood Mayor James Maley in support of A-4133.
The League of Municipalities has long advocated for pension and health benefit reforms. While pension and health benefit costs are one of the main cost drivers for municipal budgets, they are generally outside the municipality’s control. These costs serve to drive up local costs which in turn force cuts elsewhere in the budget, often to valued and vital public services.
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 tools that were promised. Many have been forced to severely reduce vital services, including public personnel reductions, and make other difficult and often draconian budget choices. Pension and Health Care reforms are very difficult issues to tackle in a manner that ensures the financial solvency of the pension systems so they will exist in the future without over burdening municipalities and tax payers. The League applauds the bipartisan efforts of those who can 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.
We anticipate A-4133 being released from the Assembly Budget and Appropriation Committee later today. The bill is scheduled for a full vote of the Assembly on Thursday, June 23, 2011.
If you have any questions or need additional information on the Pension and Health Benefit reforms please contact Lori Buckelew at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-695-3481 x112