Christie signs law extending N.J. cap on raises for police, firefighters

Gov. Chris Christie has signed a law extending the 2 percent cap on arbitration awards for police and firefighters in New Jersey.

 

The cap first took effect in 2011 and expired on April 1. The newly signed law extends it until the end of 2017.

During a signing ceremony Tuesday on the steps of the Statehouse in Trenton, Christie said the limit on those awards is delivering cost savings to local governments and helping to control property taxes.

“Since the cap was passed the average increase in police salaries was just 1.86 percent, the smallest growth in two decades,” the governor said. “Last year, overall property tax growth was held to just 1.7 percent across the state.”

Dozens of mayors from around New Jersey surrounded Christie as he signed the legislation into law.

The law helps local governments control costs when resolving contract disputes, said Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty.

“To have this tool is invaluable,” he said. “Knowing that we have a backstop that we can negotiate, and we can take care of the interests of the public, take care of the public safety, but at the same time at a fair deal for taxpayers.”

The compromise legislation worked out by legislative leaders allows for compounding of the arbitration awards each year. It also gives arbitrators more time to decide contracts and extends the time for appeals by unions.

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