PARAMUS – New Jersey Assemblywoman Connie Wagner wants municipal officials to start contributing to their health benefit costs.
Yesterday’s State Commission of Investigation report offered a blistering critique of municipal financial practices, including in how local governments cover employee health care costs. The agency found “most governmental entities require no employee contributions, and those that do have established inconsistent rates,” recommending that, “at a minimum,” local employees cover a flat 1.5 percent of their plan cost.
“Hundreds of thousands of hard-working New Jerseys pay part of their own employer-provided health care, if they are lucky enough to have it, so why should things be different for individuals who work for the people?” said Wagner (D-Bergen). “Local government needs to be more responsive to taxpayers, not just in the services it provides to residents, but also in the benefits it offers employees paid- for with property tax dollars.”
Wagner’s measure (A-4176) would require local elected and appointed officials covered under the State Health Benefits Plan (SHBP) to pick up fully 20 percent of their premiums – an amount comparable to many private sector cost-sharing plans.
Single coverage under SHBP can cost up to $6,700 per year. Under Wagner’s proposed 20 percent share, an employee contribution would be under $26 per week.
Wagner drafted the bill during the summer and formally introduced it when the Assembly reconvened on Nov. 23.
“The days of property taxpayers having to foot the bill for everything local officials receive cannot end soon enough,” said Wagner. “Given New Jersey’s overabundance of local government, this plan could produce real savings not sure for the state health benefits system, but for property taxpayers, too.”
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!