Gov Christie To Dems: Finish The Tool Kit [AUDIO]
It's time for lawmakers to end payouts for unused sick leave and pass other reforms to help stabilize property taxes said Governor Chris Christie yesterday as he urged the Democratic-controlled Legislature to reconsider two bills he conditionally vetoed.
That was the key message in a keynote address he delivered before municipal mayors and other officials in Atlantic City.
Christie pressed the legislature to finish, before the end of this session, the tool kit business he says they have left ignored since May 10, 2010, when the he put these bills forward. He called on the Legislature to end its delays and act on Sick Pay reform and Civil Service reform - two reforms that he insists will have a serious impact in cost savings and property tax relief.
Christie has been attacking Democrats for not taking action on several bills. He has again taken to calling them the "Do-Nothing Legislature," as he did for much of the earlier part of this year.
The legislature did pass a civil service reform bill to make it easier for towns to share services or merge as a way to save tax dollars. Christie conditionally vetoed it because it doesn't include a provision to let towns opt out nor does it include furlough options for municipalities.
The Democrat-controlled legislature also passed a measure to limit end-of-career payouts for used sick days and vacation time for public employees. Christie conditionally vetoed that as well because he feels it doesn't go far enough.
Yesterday, Christie spent much of his time talking about the payout bill. He said, "There is no commonsense rationalization for this everybody. There isn't. This is simply put, a giveaway…..I mean there has to be a limit somewhere to this….Let's end this now."
The Governor is giving the legislature a 60-day deadline to finish the work. State Senate President Steve Sweeney says, "The Governor doesn't run the legislature. He wasn't elected King……The Governor's not right on everything in fact, he's wrong on a lot of things."
Sweeney says he and the Christie Administration are working on compromise on the unresolved bills. Referring the cash outs for unused sick and vacation time, he explains, "I honestly do believe you should use it or lose it. I have a caucus and I have other members and we'll talk about it, but I know we are getting very close to fixing the problem."
The Senate President would not define, "close" as it pertains to the legislation.