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Op-Ed: Public Employee Sick Leave Benefits a Ticking Time Bomb

by Assemblywoman Donna Simon (R-Readington), who represents South Brunswick in the 16th Legislative District.

There is a ticking time bomb in the 16th Legislative District. It would cause $27 million worth of damage to families, seniors and small businesses struggling to make ends meet.

This is the amount it would cost local property taxpayers to cover all of the unused sick and vacation time accrued by public employees in the towns I represent in parts of Hunterdon, Somerset, Mercer and Middlesex Counties. The price tag statewide is a staggering $825 million.

Public employees should use sick days when they’re sick, not as another retirement plan subsidized by overburdened families and seniors.

As a former municipal official, I understand what a problem this is for property taxpayers. As a member of the Assembly State Government Committee, I helped lead the charge to fix it.

Unfortunately, Trenton Democrats who control that committee won’t commit to real reform.  Their so-called compromise was to cap these payouts at $7,500 per employee. Taxpayers deserve more.

In an effort to break the partisan logjam and achieve real savings, I would consider a proposal that allows public employees to retain their sick time for future illness, as long as it ends any payment for unused time.

Unfortunately, some Trenton politicians aren’t willing to compromise even when it’s in the best interest of taxpayers and this $27 million time bomb continues to tick because the Trenton Democrats don’t have the courage to defuse it.

I will keep pressing for real property tax reform until our hard-working families and seniors no longer have to pay for unused sick and vacation time. I encourage my constituents to call my office at 908-968-3304 or email me at AswSimon@njleg.org to let me know how you feel about this issue.

--Assemblywoman Donna Simon

Joe R March 24, 2012 at 12:55 AM
I thought the pensions were the ticking time bomb? Oh wait, let's just mindlessly attack, attack and attack some more public employees. Bring your pitchforks and torches so we can hang the evil public employees who are the cause of all the ills in NJ and the universe and several unnamed black holes. Geezus, this war against public employees never stops. Every day some politician, usually an R, is swiftboating the evil public employees and their evil unions. Everything will be peachy keen fine just as soon as we gut the salaries and benefits of the public employees who caused the Great Recession and the housing bubble. They must be punished because those in the private sector (think Walmart) have no benefits, no pensions, no job security, no nothing. It's a race to the bottom in service to a right wing ideology hostile to unions and public employees.
Joe R March 24, 2012 at 01:06 AM
It does occasionally happen that a teacher has a serious illness and may be out of school for weeks. They can easily use up all their sick days from a serious operation, accident or whatever medical disaster. Well dang, how dare those uppity teachers get sick on school time. They should get sick during the summer. The only solution is to fire teachers when they get too sick or are out for long periods due to cancer or a terrible auto accident or whatever illness. They get rid of sickly people in the private sector, so why not teachers.
Joe R March 24, 2012 at 01:36 AM
A Republican concerned about seniors??? What a cruel hoax from the same party that is rabidly anti Social Security, anti Medicare, anti Medicaid, anti Obamacare. From day one the GOP was against all these programs and the current rabidly right wing GOP is trying to destroy the above programs. They claim they want to reform them but their true aim is to destroy them through privatization.
7 out April 16, 2012 at 03:12 PM
The issue with saving days is partially due to teachers not being included in NJ disability. We must buy coverage outside and it is not anywhere compatible to the disability coverage that protects most other workers in NJ. I have no problem with ending the banking of days, as long as I'm put into NJ disability coverage.
Jack Wagon April 16, 2012 at 05:11 PM
I agree with you 7 and out. Teachers should absolutely be put into NJ disability coverage for extended illnesses The rest of Joe's political rhetoric is nonsense and after reading his angry, off the wall, extreme rants for months now, where he attacks anyone who doesn't agree with his views I can honestly say I feel sorry for anyone for having to put up with such a narrow minded twit. The slug unions serve no purpose anymore in today's workplace.

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