Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, not the Democrat nominee for Governor, declared that the best interests of his city’s residents and taxpayers prevailed, according to Hudson County View.
The arbitrator’s decision will enable Mayor Fulop and the city council to keep their budget within the two-percent levy cap and hold the line on property taxes from substantially increasing.
“This is not a day where we say that we won, but rather that the best interest of the city, its residents and the taxpayers prevailed,” Fulop said in a statement reported by HCV.
“We have negotiated successfully with six of the city’s other unions to adopt measures that correct many of the outdated contract provisions and worked productively with the unions for the benefit of their members and the public. Unfortunately, the POBA chose a different route and an independent arbitrator was required.”
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) today called on Fulop to join him in challenging Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto to put legislation making the cap permanent up for vote in the Assembly.
“The deal between Jersey City and the police union is a perfect example of the two percent arbitration cap being effectively used to hold down property taxes. Mayor Fulop is one Democrat that isn’t blind to the clear and overwhelming evidence that the cap helps keep property taxes from skyrocketing,” said O’Scanlon. “Mayor Fulop should challenge his ally Speaker Prieto to permanently extend the arbitration cap. Otherwise, Jersey City taxpayers will suffer with the rest of the state.”
The arbitration cap is set to expire on December 31, the same day a Task Force report on the cap is legally due. O’Scanlon, a member of the Task Force, released the report’s findings last month, over the objections of the union representatives on the Task Force. The report concludes that the cap on salary increases for police and firefighters enables towns to maintain their budgets and mitigate property tax increases. In 2014, the legislature voted unanimously to extend the arbitration cap after a report by the same task force came to the same conclusion.
“If Fulop doesn’t challenge Prieto, Democrats might not do anything and the very tool that enabled, as Fulop said, ‘taxpayers to prevail’ will go away for Jersey City and for taxpayers throughout the state. Mayor Fulop’s good friend Vinny Prieto holds the key and Fulop needs to turn it. This new report is almost identical to a previous report that labor unanimously supported without needing anything else. The only thing different is now we have even more data proving the cap is working and is needed,” added O’Scanlon. “Prieto said he would wait for the report. Well it’s here, it’s convincing and Mayor Fulop proved it.”
The 2017 Report of the Governor’s Appointees to the Police and Fire Public Interest Arbitration Impact Task Force can be found here.