New Jersey taxpayers are on the hook for almost $2 billion for public workers’ unused sick and vacation days, NJ Spotlight recently reported. While state workers have long been subject to a cap on unused sick/vacation days, workers in most of New Jersey’s municipalities, school districts, and counties are still eligible for these “golden parachute” benefits.
That’s $207 per New Jerseyan right now. Put another way, the report said: “In this state with the highest property taxes in the nation, the $929 million owed to municipal workers alone, if it were paid out immediately by property-tax payers, would lead to an increase of 11 percent over last year’s total local levy.”
Although payout for unused absences for new public employees was capped at $15,000 in 2010, other efforts to rein in and stop these payouts for employees hired before that have not gained traction. There are currently bills pending in the Legislature to cap these payments, but they haven’t gotten a hearing and attempts to call for votes have been blocked.
A-653 would end the accrual of sick days for payouts, while still paying what money is already owed to current employees. S-2140 would cap payouts at $10,000 while new contracts are negotiated. Both bills were tabled.
Meanwhile, these huge payouts continue to drive the state’s highest-in-the-nation property taxes and create tremendous liabilities for municipalities, which they aren’t prepared to pay. New Jerseyans deserve a real solution.