By Steve Patterson
TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — A show of force in Trenton.
Governor Christie said, “We’re out here today to make sure that the leaders of the assembly know that we are united in this cause.”
Dozens of leaders from municipalities from all over New Jersey standing with Christie on the steps of the Trenton War Memorial.
The cause: They want an extension of a two percent arbitration cap on salaries of police and firefighters in contract negotiations.
The goal: Christie says to keep salaries in line with a permanent statewide 2 percent cap on property tax increases.
Christie said, “You need to put a cap on those things that drive the levy the most. That is the expense of employees in the public sector of this state.”
But the sunset of the law has already come and gone.
There was a vote to extend the cap last month, but the governor didn’t like some of the stipulations that the assembly wanted to push on it to push it through, so he vetoed.
The State Senate agreed with him on the Compromise-Veto, the State Assembly walked out on the vote. And so the fight over the balance of this cap continues.
But police and fire unions aligned with the Assembly say after years under the cap, it’s time for compromises and Christie isn’t allowing room for negotiating.
President of New Jersey Firefighters Association Dominick Marino said, “If it was up to us we’d have no cap, if it was up to them it would be a zero cap. There’s a compromise.”
They say a one-percent increase is fair. Christie argues extending the current cap is the only fair play.
A fight over percentage points that both sides say will easily add up.