Christie says fighting opioid addiction will be primary focus in his final months

(Alan Tu/WHYY)

(Alan Tu/WHYY)

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie leaves office in January and said the opioid crisis will be his primary focus until then.

He said he’s ready to work with the legislature to do anything in the lame duck session that makes sense.

He’d like lawmakers to send him a bill that would eliminate accumulated sick time payouts for public employees.

“It’s a disgrace that we have billions of dollars being paid to people for not having been sick. It’s a disgrace. It’s an outrage to the taxpayers. I’ve been saying it for eight years.”

The payouts for state workers are limited to $15,000, but some retiring local government employees have cashed out for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Christie also wants lawmakers to renew the two percent cap on raises police and firefighters can get when contact disputes are taken to binding arbitration.

If the legislature doesn’t extend it, the cap will expire at the end of year, and Christie says that could have an impact on property taxpayers.

“I’ll tell you this, if the interest arb cap does not get put back in place, property taxes, which have gone up an average over the last seven years of two-and-a-quarter percent, will go back their seven percent increases that happened in the ten years before that. And folks in New Jersey won’t stand for that.”

Christie also wants lawmakers to extend the two percent cap on raises police and firefighters can get when contact disputes are taken to binding arbitration.

“I’ll tell you this, if the interest arb cap does not get put back in place, property taxes, which have gone up an average over the last seven years of two-and-a-quarter percent, will go back their seven percent increases that happened in the ten years before that. And folks in New Jersey won’t stand for that.”

Christie says those issues need to be resolved, but isn’t sure that lawmakers will act on them.

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