Even NJ Dems Get The Pension Thing
Putting themselves on a collision course with organized labor and leaders of their own party, three Democratic lawmakers said yesterday unionized state workers should forgo a scheduled 5 percent pay raise and give back millions of dollars in benefits before residents are asked to pay a higher sales tax.
"We cannot afford this government," said Sen. Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), himself a business official with the Ironworkers union. "We need to get realistic with what we offer. We need the real world."
Sweeney, Assemblyman Gerald Green (D-Union) and Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-Gloucester) proposed saving about $700 million by cutting employee costs for New Jersey's 70,000 state workers by 15 percent, including sweeping reductions in pension benefits, longer working days without additional pay, and limits on vacation and sick time.
Yesterday's proposal was accompanied by a 34-page packet of statistical highlights the lawmakers said show state workers enjoy premium pay, benefits and vacation time in a period when private workers and taxpayers are being asked to cut back and pay more.
"This is not an attack on unions or employees, but we deal with reality," said Green. "The state of New Jersey cannot afford the luxury we had in the past."
Not all NJ Dems agree, of course. Surprised?
Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-Union [that's a town, not an affinity group) is chairman of the State Democratic Committee. He criticized any suggestion that the state seek union givebacks before state worker contracts expire next year.
"We all know the cost issues, but we all have an obligation here."That would be an obligation to union special interests, not an obligation to the people, so the people be damned.
Related Tags: Dems, Unions, Democrats, Public Pension Plans, Moorlach, Public employees