Senators Jennifer Beck (R-11), Michael Doherty (R-23) and Joe Kyrillos (R-13) sent letters today inviting Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto to join their effort to achieve vacation and sick leave reform.
Their invitation follows the publication of a story by NJ Spotlight today putting the total accumulated liability of towns, counties, and school districts for unused sick and vacation time at nearly $1.9 billion.
In the letter, the senators note that New Jersey residents pay the highest property taxes in the nation, and highlight the bipartisan effort to enact the two-percent cap in 2010.
“When few people thought it was possible, Republicans and Democrats in both houses of the Legislature came together to pass the property tax cap,” said Doherty. “That was a good demonstration of what’s possible, but much more remains to be done. Ending the sick and vacation leave payout abuses that contribute to our state’s property tax crisis should be low-hanging fruit that we can accomplish together if given the opportunity.”
Senate Republicans Propose School Funding Reforms to Improve Opportunities for Students, Provide Property Tax Relief for Families
Proposals Eliminate Abuses, Establish More Equitable Funding for Overlooked Students in Underfunded Districts
In an effort to improve educational opportunities for New Jersey students and provide real property tax relief to overburdened families, New Jersey Senate Republicans released a series of school funding reform proposals as the starting point for discussions on the replacement of the state’s failed school funding system.
“Senate Republicans want to fix the broken school funding formula that has failed too many students and devastated middle-class property taxpayers,” said Kean. “We’re ready to roll up our sleeves to negotiate a funding formula that works, and we’re prepared to come to the table with detailed solutions that we believe will improve educational opportunities statewide and make New Jersey more affordable.”
During his Budget Message last month, Governor Christie challenged the legislative leaders of both parties to join with him to work on a new funding formula to replace the School Funding Reform Act of 2008 (SFRA).
Senate Republicans Jennifer Beck, Mike Doherty and Joe Kyrillos condemned the repeated efforts by Legislative Democrats to block Senate and Assembly Republican attempts to move bills limiting local sick leave payouts to protect property taxpayers.
An effort by Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz to move legislation (A-653) addressing six-figure sick leave payouts that some local government employees receive when they retire was blocked by Assembly Democrats during the March 16, 2017 Assembly voting session.
Senate Republicans Jennifer Beck, Mike Doherty and Joe Kyrillos also attempted to force a vote on their sick leave reform bills during the most recent Senate session on March 13. Senate Democrats blocked each of those efforts.
“It doesn’t make any sense to repeatedly block attempts to achieve sick leave reform, when both Democrats and Republicans sponsor legislation to do just that,” Senator Beck (R-Monmouth) said. “I am disappointed to see the majority party pass up another opportunity to provide property tax relief to our residents, by eliminating this billion-dollar expense hanging over their heads.”
Senate Democrats Block Three Attempts by Kyrillos, Doherty & Beck to Move Bills Limiting Local Sick Leave Payouts to Protect Property Taxpayers
Measures Would Stop Six-Figure Payouts for Unused Sick Time to Retiring Local Government Employees
Three separate efforts by Senate Republicans to protect property taxpayers by moving bills they sponsor addressing the absurd six-figure sick leave payouts that some local government employees receive when they retire were blocked by Senate Democrats during today’s session of the New Jersey Senate.
Motions were made by Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-13) on S-194, Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) on S-572, and Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11) on S-2140 to bring the bills to the floor of the Senate for consideration. Senate Democrats blocked each of those efforts.
The following editorial by Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) on the legislative debate on pay equity legislation was published by NJ.com on January 27, 2017:
Everyone agrees that women deserve equal pay for equal work. Thankfully, both state and federal law already prohibit wage discrimination on the basis of an employee’s gender, as they rightly should.
Those prohibitions are explicit in the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963, as well as in New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination.
Further, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act signed by former President Barack Obama in 2009 set the modern standard for how to address pay inequities experienced by women.
Senate Republicans Steven Oroho, Mike Doherty and Sam Thompson issued the following statement on the first meeting of the Senate Select Committee on School Funding Fairness. As committee members, the senators are working on a bipartisan basis to examine the state’s broken school funding system – a major component of New Jersey’s property tax crisis.
“This committee to examine school funding reform was created on a bipartisan basis, and I am encouraged by the fact that we seem to share a common goal,” Senator Doherty (R-Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset) said. I’ve had a constitutional amendment in since 2011 to make school funding as equitable as possible. I’ve been in this fight to restore fairness to school funding and provide property tax relief to residents for years. Our taxpayers and our children deserve no less.”
“Our flawed school funding formula creates inequities that hurt students and taxpayers alike,” Senator Steven Oroho (R–Sussex, Warren, Morris) said. “I am hopeful that this committee will not limit itself to making slight adjustments to the current formula or just look to throw more money at the problem when we already spend near the top nationally in state aid per pupil. We simply cannot address high property taxes without enacting more comprehensive school funding reform.”
“Finding solutions to fix New Jersey’s inequitable school aid formula is critical to easing the property tax burden for our residents, especially those who reside in one of the many woefully underfunded school districts in suburban and rural communities throughout the state,” Senator Thompson (R-Middlesex, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean, Burlington) said. “I am committed to working diligently with my fellow committee members to finally deliver long-awaited and much needed school funding reform.”
Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) praised President Donald Trump for signing a pair of executive orders that would enhance border security and protect communities from unauthorized immigrants who engage in illegal activity.
“I’m encouraged that we finally have a president who is willing to enforce the laws of our nation and work to keep our communities safe,” said Doherty. “We’re either a nation of laws, or we’re not. It’s shocking to hear other elected officials say anything to the contrary.”
Says Failure of Ballot Measure May Prevent Billions of Borrowing, Force Leaders to Address Out-of-Control Spending
Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) has announced his opposition to Public Question #2, a ballot measure before voters this year to amend the New Jersey Constitution to dedicate state gas tax revenues to the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).
“I believe the passage of Public Question #2 would give the state the green light to add $12 billion in new debt,” said Doherty. “Our state is in the fiscal hole it’s in because we keep borrowing for things we can’t afford, when we really should be tightening our belts.”
Doherty said the failure of Public Question #2 would put the state’s ability to issue that planned debt in jeopardy.
Doherty, Bateman & Beck Blast Democrats’ Plans to Fund Pork Rail Projects with New Gas Taxes from TTF
Say Democrats Are Pulling Bait & Switch on Drivers Who Were Promised Safe Roads and Bridges from 23 Cent/Gallon Gas Tax Increase
After raising the gas tax by 23 cents per gallon, Senate Democrats announced their support for spending $1 billion of gas tax revenues to pay for an expensive light rail project.
“The ink hasn’t even dried on the gas tax increase, yet Democrats are already scheming ways to divert billions paid by drivers to build the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Extension and other similar projects in their districts,” said Doherty. “We warned that this is exactly what they would do, and now they’ve proven us correct. It won’t be long before they’re back asking for another gas tax increase.”
Senator Kip Bateman (R-16) and Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) have officially introduced legislation to repeal the gas tax increase that will take effect on November 1.
The repeal legislation, S-2717, was introduced during the New Jersey Senate session on Thursday, October 20, 2016.
“Legislators who supported the gas tax increase see the momentum building behind our repeal effort, and they’re worried,” said Bateman. “They’re feeling the pressure and grumbling behind the scenes for us to stop. That’s a sign that our online petition effort is working and that our efforts on behalf of taxpayers to repeal the gas tax increase are not in vain.”
Nearly 15,000 people have signed the online petition to repeal the gas tax increase since it was launched just over a week ago.