More than a half-million public employees in New Jersey may have to pay more for their medical benefits.
Public workers now contribute 1.5 percent of their salary for their health-care benefits.
Senate President Steve Sweeney is proposing a plan that would phase in contributions of between 12 and 30 percent of their premiums. He said Tuesday he expects opposition from employee unions.
“We can stand here and just tell the taxpayers that we’re afraid, we’re afraid of special interests just pushing back and we don’t care about you. We can do that, but I don’t think any of us will be standing here,” said Sweeney. “We need to fix this and we need to fix it now.”
Sweeney proposes phasing in the increased contributions over a seven year period.
Unions maintain the contributions should be determined through collective bargaining.
Gov. Chris Christie said Sweeney’s plan is not as much reform as needed but it is a good starting point for discussions.