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Politicker NJ - "Myers: Protect Taxpayers Now, Ban Kelly's Healthcare Double-Dip"

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Location: Trenton, NJ

Congressional candidate Chris Myers today made good on his promise to urge the introduction of state legislation banning the unethical and costly practice that permits individual public employees and retirees who hold more than one taxpayer-funded job to force taxpayers to pay for their healthcare benefits for one job, and foot the bill for cash payments in lieu of benefits from another.

Myers said no current public employee or retiree should be grandfathered in the current system under the new law, and urged the legislature to seek similar reforms that protect taxpayers and reduce the cost and size of government immediately.

Myers called for the ban following last week's revelation that his opponent, Jack Kelly, receives expensive taxpayer-funded healthcare benefits as a part-time Ocean County freeholder, while pocketing an extra $71,000 in taxpayer cash for opting out of a second taxpayer-funded healthcare package as both an employee and retiree of the South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA).

"Last week I promised to bring this unethical, costly practice to the attention of my representatives in the State Legislature, and today I'm proud to say that I'm here to stand with them while they announce plans to introduce legislation banning people like Jack Kelly and others from lining their pockets at the expense of taxpayers," said Myers, who accepts no taxpayer-funded benefits as a member of the Medford Township Council. "New Jersey residents pay the highest taxes in the country, and our state government is on the verge of bankruptcy in large part because people like my opponent, Jack Kelly, game the system for their own enrichment."

Myers said Kelly's greed is trumped only by his cluelessness when it comes to understanding why his deal with the SJTA is wrong.

"Across the State, families and seniors on a fixed income are finding it difficult, if not impossible, to afford health insurance," said Myers. "While people struggle to pay for healthcare once, Mr. Kelly astonishingly believes he's entitled to it twice! How he can defend this practice is, quite frankly, beyond me."

First-term legislators Senator Philip Haines, Assemblywoman Dawn Marie Addiego and Assemblyman Scott Rudder joined Myers today and said they have instructed the Office of Legislative Services to prepare a bill that will be introduced in the coming days to end this patent abuse, while also heeding Myers call to explore additional reform measures.

"After hearing from Chris, reading the newspaper accounts and fielding calls from irate constituents, we asked the Office of Legislative Services to draft legislation which would end the practice of allowing ‘waive out' healthcare payments to individual public employees who draw two or more taxpayer-funded salaries, and to retirees who receive health benefits from a second public job," said Haines, a member of the Senate Budget Committee. "This blatant abuse must end now."

"This self-serving practice must end immediately," said Addiego, a member of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. "This is exactly the type of legislation I came to Trenton to enact. I welcome input from any good government reform group or editorial board that has ideas on how to further rein in the cost of government, and its impact on taxpayers, with regard to the way public employees are compensated and receive benefits at taxpayer expense."

"Since I was sworn into the legislature in January, I've worked hard to find ways to bring clear cut, commonsense reforms to what is a complicated, cumbersome and extremely costly bureaucracy," said Rudder, a member of the Assembly Transportation Committee. "Ending this ‘waive-out' abuse is a no-brainer; and I look forward to continuing down this path and investigating what other reforms can be made."

"While Congress certainly has its own difficulties, I don't envy the job facing Phil, Dawn and Scott," concluded Myers. "The problems are entrenched; the political and bureaucratic obstacles great. But I couldn't be more proud to know that these three people are representing me in the State Legislature, and I commend them for having the courage to challenge the system and confront the longstanding abuses that have resulted from years of both neglect and the self-serving actions of career politicians like John Adler and his ilk."

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