Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) and Gov. Chris Christie have finally reached “common ground” on restoring a crucial law that has helped curb property tax growth in New Jersey. The Assembly is voting on a bill today (A3424) that would renew a 2 percent annual limit on the amount that third-party arbitrators can award police and firefighters in raises and other forms of compensation. The cap would last until December 2017 and would apply retroactively to April. The compromise was reached in an effort to protect taxpayers from skyrocketing property taxes, while also helping local governments control costs.
According to NJ.com, when police and firefighter unions are deadlocked with municipalities or counties on their contracts, they hire third-party arbitrators to make binding decisions for them. Beginning in 2011, the arbitrators were limited to awarding 2 percent annual raises. But the law expired on April 1 after Prieto and Christie failed to reach an agreement. Mayors said the law was an important tool to help them meet the state’s 2 percent cap on property tax growth. Police and firefighter unions said it is a "disservice," however, because they believe it unfairly hobbled them in negotiations, as the arbitration process is the only option to settle contract disputes.
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