This in a tweet from the Path-to-Progress realigning Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3):
“We will introduce legislation that would cap the number of sick leave days that an employee has available to them at $7,500 a year. This is projected to save as much as $50 million annually and end prolonged absences from work.”
The thought (or the tweet) echoes the core of the op-ed the senate president – somewhat sheepish about backing a millionaire’s tax – penned today in the Star-Ledger.
“We authorized borrowing because at historically low-interest rates it would be unwise not to invest in the programs that will get us through this pandemic. And just because the state borrows the money, it doesn’t mean we will spend it. The Legislature insisted upon strict controls by legislative leadership, which laid the foundation to success in the New Jersey Supreme Court when the state was challenged on its authority to borrow. It is clear in the New Jersey Constitution that the framers wanted to provide fiscal flexibility in the event of a crisis, but also that the flexibility was only meant to address the crisis at hand. The current budget serves as the first step in meeting the intent.
“Over the next nine months, the responsibility of the Legislature and the governor is to address the long-term fiscal crisis facing our state – a crisis that has resulted in repeated downgrades by the bond rating agencies who rightfully regard the fiscal challenges we face as the second-worst in the nation after Illinois.
“Fortunately, as a direct result of this year’s budget talks, the governor has agreed with us on the need for fundamental reforms to balance future budgets, to provide savings for taxpayers and to make government services more efficient.
“We already achieved substantial savings for both taxpayers and educators through the health benefit reforms we negotiated with the New Jersey Education Association, as well as with the Pharmacy Benefit Manager program we set up to cut prescription drug costs and avert prescription errors. We need to continue to find common-sense healthcare savings year after year.”