Governor Chris Christie today vetoed meeting minutes of the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA), rejecting contracts for union and non-union employees that contain raises and health benefit cost-sharing levels that are out of step with those paid by New Jersey's public employees and inappropriate for the current fiscal climate. The proposed three-year contracts would have provided annual 1.9% salary increases and healthcare premium sharing by employees is at an unchanged level of 10% for the entirety of the contract term.
These terms were granted despite the fact that, under the landmark bipartisan pension and health benefit reforms of 2011, public employees in New Jersey are entering the fourth year of increased cost-sharing for their health benefits without offsetting salary increases and many non-union employees have not received salary increases as the state emerges from the recession.
"The DRBA is well aware that New Jersey state employees and many local employees have already moved to a higher level of healthcare cost sharing than what is paid by DRBA employees today and that there must be equity in these times of fiscal restraint to protect taxpayers and tollpayers alike," said Governor Christie. "The DRBA's attempted action here is clearly contrary to that principle and inconsistent with the contracts public employees are living under in New Jersey today. For these reasons, I am vetoing these inappropriate actions."
Governor Christie's veto letter addresses the April 7th meeting of the DRBA's Board of Commissioners, at which the board passed a resolution to authorize three contracts with unionized employees and salary increases for non-union employees.