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Madden’s Votes Continue to Push Property Taxes Higher!

December 21, 2010

Fred Madden

While the Senate have made progress with arbitration reform, several property tax relief tools continue to be blocked by the Democrat majority.  At least eight tools including a 2% cap on state spending, real civil service reform, and shared services were voted down by Senator Madden on the flooryesterday.  If the Democrats refuse to pass the full property tax relief tool kit, they need to be held accountable by the people next November for higher property taxes.

On  Monday Senate Republican leaders  moved to force consideration of tax relief measures stalled by the Senate Democratic Majority. Senator Tom Kean, Jr. said that Republican requests to bring up unfinished toolkit bills reflect his caucus’s commitment to giving local governments, school boards, and higher education institutions tools to reign in labor costs and provide relief to New Jersey taxpayers:

“The historic arbitration reform enacted by the legislature earlier this month should not overshadow the fact that local governments still lack many of the tools necessary to reign in property taxes,”

said Kean.

“We owe it to every taxpayer in this state to give local officials all of the cost-cutting tools the Senate President himself acknowledged were necessary just this past summer. Most importantly, we owe it to our children to improve affordability and access to post-secondary educational opportunities at our state colleges and universities. Senate Republicans will move to release eight of these remaining reforms directly to the floor. We invite our colleagues from the other side of the aisle to join us in finishing the job we were elected to do.”

Senator Kean said that Republicans are particularly concerned with the Majority’s failure to act on reforms that will allow for municipalities to opt out of the antiquated civil service system, encourage shared services in school districts, and make higher education more affordable by controlling labor costs at public colleges and universities.

The bills for which motions to relieve from committee were offered are:

S-2202 (Oroho) – Establishing a 2% cap on annual appropriations increases for certain government spending.

Goal: To force state government to live by the same spending constraints as are required of counties and municipalities.

S-2039 (Bateman) – Civil Service Reform/Local Opt Out

Goal: To provide meaningful civil service reform that affords local governing bodies greater layoff and furlough authority, as well as the opportunity to opt out of a system first conceived prior to modern collective bargaining and labor law employee protections.

S-2024 (Kyrillos) – Provides latitude to local government bodies to combine workforces/services

Goal: To encourage greater sharing of services among municipalities by easing workforce consolidation rules.

S-2025 (Kyrillos) – Requires executive county superintendents to expand sharing of services among school districts

Goal: To take advantage of cost saving opportunities between school districts by sharing certain services and functions where possible andappropriate.

S-2043 (Kyrillos) – Allows school boards to impose “last, best offer”

Goal: To empower school boards to break collective bargaining impasses within the economic constraints of Cap 2.0.

S-2026 (Kean, T.) – Exempts employees of state colleges and universities from Civil Service

Goal: To slow tuition cost escalation by giving institutions of highereducation direct negotiating authority with employee unions and greater control over workforce structure and salary scales.

S-2027 (Kean, T.) – Requires consideration of state/county aid reductions, impact of settlements on tuition increases, and benefit standards for state employees in fact-finding contract decisions pertaining to higher education employees.

Goal: To reign in fact-finder awards by Public Employment Relations

Commission in higher education labor disputes.

S-2172 (Bateman) – Higher education tenure reform

Goal: To reward merit and performance in tenure awards and career development within state colleges and universities.

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