Sen. Prez: 2011 A Year Of Accomplishment And Disappointment [AUDIO]
After voting sessions in both the State Senate and the General Assembly today, the legislative session comes to an end. Newly elected members are to be sworn in tomorrow. How much was accomplished? The answer depends upon who is being asked.
For the better part of 2011 Governor Chris Christie travelled the state blasting Democrats for leading the "Do Nothing Legislature." In recent months he's focused his criticism on the legislature's failure to act on a measure that would completely eliminate huge end-of-career payouts for public workers' unused sick days. The top Democrat in the Upper House says he and his colleagues got a lot done in 2001.
"Look, we did some good things this session," explains State Senate President Steve Sweeney. "We put a (2%) property tax cap in. We did interest arbitration reform. We did (public employee) pension and (health) benefit reform. I mean, we did a lot of things to fix government."
Sweeney points to the public worker bills and the property tax cap as two measures most people thought would never be passed. That's not to say the Senate President is 100% satisfied with the year that was.
"A bill I'm passionate about, shared services, we didn't get it done, but I've been working on it for a year," says Sweeney. "I guess the other thing that I'm most disappointed in is the fact that the Governor vetoed most of our (Democrats) job bills. We'd given him 30 bills. (He) vetoed most of them."
Sweeney says the legislature will continue to produce jobs bills and work on making it easier for towns to share services. He agrees with Christie that education reform is needed, but says the Governor is not going to get everything he wants with regard to that issue.