Corzine Declares Victory With New Jersey State Worker Contact – Taxpayers Concede Defeat
The average health benefit cost for each of New Jersey’s 80,185 state employees in 2006 was $13,594. The average cost for an active state employee’s health insurance has been increasing at 13 percent per year and is expected to continue growing at this rate for the next four years. By 2010 the average health benefit cost per state employee will be $22,165.
The Star-Ledger says the Governor has proposed a new contract to state unions that “If ratified, the deal described by officials last night would provide a clear political victory for Gov. Jon Corzine.”
The Corzine administration and state worker unions last night closed in on a contract agreement that would provide 13 percent in wage increases over four years but require workers to make major concessions on health insurance and pensions, saving the state hundreds of millions of dollars.So, state workers are going to pay 1.5 percent of their salaries for health benefits, but taxpayers are going to give them the money to pay for it, plus an extra 1.75 percent for the next four years. Where do the millions in savings to taxpayers come in? The cost for worker health benefits will continue to increase by 13 percent annually and salaries will increase by a net 1.75 percent each year after employee health benefit contributions.
Union and administration officials involved in the final stages of negotiations, which continued late into the night, said the proposal would for the first time require workers to contribute from their paychecks to the cost of their health benefits. Under the plan, employees would chip in 1.5 percent of their annual salaries, in addition to the co-pays and deductibles they currently pay.
Of course state employees are eligible for other benefits in addition to health insurance - as we know total state worker benefit costs are increasing 30 percent annually. So what else has Corzine proposed?
State workers also would contribute 5.5 percent of their salaries toward their pensions, up from 5 percent in the current four-year contract that expires June 30.So, state workers are going to increase their pension contributions by half of one percent, but state taxpayers are going to give them the money to cover the increase. Where’s the savings?
After all is said and done, total state worker benefits will continue to increase by 30 percent each year, plus state workers will receive a net annual salary increase of 1.25 percent.
A “clear political victory for Gov. Jon Corzine” and a terrible defeat for state taxpayers. Did you really expect it would be otherwise?