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Christie signs arbitration cap on raises for police, firefighter unions

Gov. Chris Christie Discusses Candidates For Sen. Lautenberg's Seat

Christie signs arbitration cap on raises for police, firefighter unions

JUNE 24, 2014, 9:56 AM    LAST UPDATED: TUESDAY, JUNE 24, 2014, 5:16 PM
BY MICHAEL LINHORST
STATE HO– USE BUREAU
THE RECORD

A cap on raises police and firefighter unions can get in certain contract disputes is now law – again.

The 2-percent limit on raises first became law in 2010 as part of the state’s effort to limit the growth of property taxes. The law expired this year at the end of March.

After weeks of negotiation, a bipartisan bill extending the cap emerged earlier this month. Governor Christie signed it at a ceremony outside the State House today, surrounded by top Democratic and Republican legislative leaders.

“The arbitration cap has worked,” Christie said, citing a slower growth in property taxes in recent years.

“We’re continuing what we started and renewing the bipartisan arbitration cap, which is going to continue to rein in the cost of government and stem the property tax crisis on behalf of New Jersey’s overburdened taxpayers,” said Christie, a Republican.

The cap prevents police or fire unions that settle contract disputes in interest arbitration from winning raises of more than 2 percent. The new law extends that cap until the end of 2017.

The bill passed unanimously in the Assembly and Senate earlier this month

– See more at: https://www.northjersey.com/news/christie-signs-arbitration-cap-on-raises-for-police-firefighter-unions-1.1040420#sthash.hOvgLq8w.dpuf

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N.J. legislature to vote on extension of arbitration cap for police, fire pay hikes

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photo by Boyd Loving

N.J. legislature to vote on extension of arbitration cap for police, fire pay hikes

Top Democratic lawmakers are rushing to extend the cap on police and firefighter pay raises that some say has helped keep property tax bills in check. But local officials say the bill expected to be voted on today in both the Assembly and state Senate includes too many loopholes to be effective.

Since 2011, raises for local police and firefighters have been limited to 2 percent if contract disputes were settled, as many are, through the state’s binding arbitration process. Statewide, the average property tax bill rose to a record $7,988 in 2013, but that rate of growth has slowed while this cap and another that limits overall increases in the local tax have been in place.

The salary cap expires on Tuesday, a deadline written into the original law as a compromise between the Democrats who control the Legislature and Governor Christie, a Republican.

Before the cap was in place, unions were often given raises of around 4.5 percent. That figure is now 1.9 percent after the cap, according to a recent report issued by a task force set up to study the cap’s effectiveness.

Without a full extension of the current cap, the local officials warn, cuts in services are likely. (Reitmeyer and Phillis/The Record)

https://www.northjersey.com/news/n-j-legislature-to-vote-on-extension-of-arbitration-cap-for-police-fire-pay-hikes-1.751656#sthash.OB7Wqme4.dpuf