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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