Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union) has written to Senate President Stephen Sweeney formally requesting that the Governor’s revisions to S-2220, legislation capping unused sick leave payouts to public employees, be posted for a vote at the March 21, 2011 voting session. The legislation provides property tax relief by immediately closing a loophole in state law that allows current public employees to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments for unused sick and vacation time upon retirement.
“Legislation passed by the Majority purporting to end jackpot sick leave payouts actually allowed the practice to continue for current public employees.”
“There is no excuse for anyone to receive these payments, which drives up property taxes and costs state, county, and local government millions each year. Sick leave exists to take time off when you are sick, not to serve as a supplemental source of income.”
“The Governor’s revisions to the bill would end the practice for all employees, current and future, as Republican Senators have proposed.”
“The Majority should post these revisions for an immediate vote and allow each member to register his or her opinion on providing property tax relief for New Jersey residents, the most highly taxed people in America.”
The text of Senator Kean’s letter is below:
Hon. Stephen Sweeney
935 Kings Highway, Suite 400
West Deptford, NJ 08086
March 14, 2011
Dear Senate President Sweeney,
This letter serves to respectfully request on behalf of the sixteen members of the Senate Republican caucus that the Governor’s conditional veto of S-2220/A-3392, capping payouts of unused sick leave and vacation carry forward to public employees, be posted at the March 21, 2011 Senate session.
The Governor’s veto message addresses glaring loopholes in this bill that, unless rectified, renders the legislation virtually meaningless as an immediate cost saving measure for local government.
I would hope everyone in the Senate can agree that a single Atlantic City employee cashing out nearly $300, 000 is a gross abuse of taxpayer dollars- akin to hitting the jackpot on the taxpayer’s dime. Public employees routinely cash out tens of thousands of dollars in unused leave time upon retirement, a substantial yearly strain on local budgets. The Majority’s bill, S-2220, will not end that practice immediately, but the Governor’s veto closes the bill’s loopholes and would put an end today to jackpot payouts.
We are cognizant of the fact that there is some opposition within the Democratic caucus to the changes proposed in the Governor’s veto message. The Majority voted three times against Republican motions to immediately end jackpot sick leave payouts on 9/30/10 and 3/3/11.
However, the Majority has used the full Senate’s time to consider veto overrides of unbudgeted expenses that had no hope of passage. Since it appears that likelihood of success is no longer a criteria for posting an item to the board, we respectfully request that the each Senator be given an opportunity to register their vote on this important property tax relief measure.
Senate Republican Leader