The Star-Ledger is out with a new editorial about the challenges the next Governor of New Jersey will face once in office. It doesn't look pretty:
New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the nation, a crushing burden to middle-class families and indisputably the top concern of voters.
It's a problem that can't be solved until we contain the salaries and benefits of public workers. That is not a liberal view, or a conservative view. It is about the math. And it's up to the next governor to face it.
The first test is coming soon, when a law setting a 2 percent cap on salary increases for police and firefighters in arbitration settlements is set to expire in December. The Republican candidate, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, wants to renew the cap. But the front-runner, Democrat Phil Murphy, is keeping his options open.
Before this cap, big raises in one town led to big raises in the next, since arbitrators were supposed to keep them in line with one another. The cap helped break that momentum.
Yes, it could be tweaked, and maybe a cap should apply to other municipal employees, too. But police and fire are among the highest-paid, and we can't just release their cap and do nothing.
If the unions have a better idea, let's hear it.