- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 24, 2014

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday signed into law a bill that extends the cap on arbitration awards to New Jersey’s police and firefighters through 2017.

The signing comes after the governor and Democrats worked out a compromise to revive the cap that expired on April 1.

Standing on the statehouse steps in Trenton, flanked by dozens of mayors from across the state, Christie hailed the cap for helping to rein in New Jersey’s property taxes, which remain the highest in the nation.

“It’s delivering cost-savings to local governments and helping to control property taxes,” said Christie, who called the measure “a critical reform in the fight for our tax-paying families.”

Since the cap went into effect in 2011, he said, police salaries have risen 1.86 percent on average — the smallest growth in two decades. Last year property taxes rose a modest 1.7 percent.

Officials said the measure was key to helping towns comply with a law that prevents property taxes from rising by more than 2 percent per year, with certain exceptions.

Under the deal hashed out by legislators, the cap will be relaxed slightly, with arbitrators allowed to award annual raises of 2 percent over the previous year’s wages rather than 2 percent per year.

The law also gives arbitrators more time to decide contracts, extends the window for appeals from unions, and increases the maximum amount that arbitrators can be paid.

The law will go into effect retroactively on April 2 and extends through the end of 2017.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide