TRENTON – The Assembly is expected to vote on the controversial public worker pension and health benefit reform bill today. A handful of state Senate Democrats joined with the Republican minority to approve the legislation on Monday, so if the Assembly passes the bill it will head to the governor’s desk.
Under the proposal, workers will be required to pay a greater share of their pension and health benefit costs. Cost-of-living benefit increases will be eliminated for all current and future retirees. The retirement age for new employees will be increased to 65. The state would be required to make its contributions into the pension system, which have been routinely skipped to allow legislators to pay for other budget items.
Union leaders and some Democrats have decried the bill, saying that it undermines collective bargaining rights.
Though its advocates maintain that the reform proposal will save $120 billion over the next three decades, its immediate impact will not lower taxes. The first year savings are expected to amount to just $10 million for the state government and about $5 million collectively for New Jersey’s 566 municipalities. The measure could eventually help stabilize municipal property taxes, or at least slow their growth.
The Assembly will also consider a measure that would overturn Gov. Chris Christie’s deal to let WNET in New York manage New Jersey’s public broadcasting, as well as a bill that would regulate Botox use by minors.
The complete agenda can be found at http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/legislativepub/legcal.asp.
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