New Jersey Prosperity Project

Liberty and Prosperity

On February 25th Governor Christie presented his new state budget plan to the legislature, which under the constitution has until June 30th to pass a final version and present it to the Governor for his signature.

The Governor’s budget proposes to spend $34.4 billion, an increase from last year’s budget of $1.46 billion (4.4% increase).   Unfortunately the proposed budget does not include the 10% income tax cut that the Governor had hoped that it would, due to other pressing obligations.  Nearly all new spending in the budget, 94%, is going to pension and health-care benefits for public workers and debt payments, which made it difficult to push for a tax cut.

Some key points from the Governor’s proposal include the following:

  • Largest payment in history to the State's pension fund at $2.25 billion;
  • The state’s Medicaid program would get $200 million more;
  • New Jersey Schools would get $9 billion in direct state aid; and
  • New Jersey's hospitals will receive $985 million in support.
     

Issue Update: Legislation Proposes to Require Employers to Provide Earned Sick Leave

On May 14, 2013, Assembly members Pamela Lampitt, Thomas Giblin, Patrick Diegnan and Angel Fuentes introduced legislation, A-4125, that would require each employer to provide earned sick leave to each employee it employs in New Jersey. A Senate companion bill, S-2866, was introduced by Senators Loretta Weinberg, Richard Codey, Ron Rice, Sandra Cunningham and Ray Lesniak on June 14, 2013.
 
Employees would accrue one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The employer is not required to permit the employee to accrue at any one time, or carry forward from one year to the next, more than 40 hours of earned sick leave if the employer has less than 10 employees in the State, or more than 72 hours of earned sick leave if the employer has 10 or more employees. Unless the employee accrued earned sick leave with the employer before January 1, 2014, the leave accrues beginning on that date or on the 90th day after the employee is hired, unless the employer agrees to an earlier date.
 
Earned sick leave may be used for four purposes: (1) time needed for diagnosis, care, or treatment of, or recovery from, the employee's mental or physical illness, injury, or other adverse health condition, or for preventative medical care; (2) time needed to care for a family member for those same purposes; (3) the employee or a family member being a victim of domestic violence if the leave is to obtain medical attention, counseling, relocation, legal, or other services; or (4) absence due to a closure order of the employee's workplace, or the public health-related emergency closure of a school or place of care of a child of the employee.
 
The bill prohibits retaliatory personnel actions against an employee for the use or requested use of earned sick leave or for filing of a complaint for an employer violation. The bill sets requirements for record keeping and for notifying workers of their rights under the bill.  Further, it also provides for penalties and other remedies for non-compliance with the requirements of the bill, based on the penalties and remedies for non-compliance with the "New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law," P.L.1966, c.113 (C.34:11-56a et seq.).
 
A-4125 and S-2866 have each been referred to their respective labor committees and are awaiting action.

 


Upcoming 2013 Election Dates/Analysis

At the top of this year's ballot was a gubernatorial election between incumbent Republican Governor Chris Christie and Democratic challenger Senator Barbara Buono. Earning 60% of the vote, Governor Christie defeated Senator Buono by 22 points (60% to 38%) yesterday and was elected to a second and final four-year term in office.

Moving down ballot, this year's elections also featured legislative races where all 120 members of the State Legislature were up for reelection. Democrats will retain a majority in the State Senate and General Assembly for the 216th New Jersey Legislature, which begins in January. Democrats' majority in the State Senate will remain 24-16, and at this time, it appears their majority in the General Assembly will decrease by two seats to 46-34. Republicans have gained one seat in Legislative District 1, and it looks like Republicans will pick up a seat in Legislative District 38.

Mayoral elections were also held Atlantic City, Camden and Hoboken, among other municipalities. In Atlantic City, incumbent Democratic Mayor Lorenzo Langford was defeated by Republican challenger Don Guardian. Camden and Hoboken both reelected their incumbent mayors, Dana Redd and Dawn Zimmer, respectively.

New Jersey residents also voted on a constitutional amendment to set a state minimum wage with an annual cost of living increase; the measure was approved 61% to 39%.

Click here to see how the 40 legislative districts will look for the 216th New Jersey Legislature; the district's Senator is listed first, followed by the two Assembly-members. (* denotes an incumbent who won reelection)



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The New Jersey Prosperity Project is a nonpartisan, nonprofit collaborative effort of the state';s business community to provide up-to-date, easily accessible information to New Jersey businesses and their employees about federal, state, and local government activities that have an effect on the state';s economic growth and business climate. The information available will enable New Jersey citizens to promptly and easily contact their elected representatives and to make informed choices about whom to support in elections.

The New Jersey Prosperity Project is built on this belief: when New Jersey workers are informed and active in government and elections, our families, our communities and our state will benefit. It was created to help educate our state's employers and workers about issues that impact job security, economic competitiveness, wages and benefits – and ultimately our future prosperity.

 

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