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Cryan & Sweeney Want To Aid Federal ‘Shutdown’ Workers

Introduce Bills To Provide Grace Period for Property Taxes, Allow Zero-Interest Loans on Pensions

TRENTON – Federal workers in New Jersey whose lives have been upended by the Trump Shutdown would be provided some financial relief under two bills introduced by Senator Joe Cryan and Senate President Steve Sweeney. The bills would allow for a special grace period on property tax payments for workers affected by the federal shutdown and allow for zero-interest pension loans, which would help homeowners whose property tax payments are made by their banks. The grace period would be similar to what is allowed for natural disasters.

“The lives and livelihoods of our federal workers have been disrupted by a shutdown that is cutting off the paychecks they need to support themselves and their families,” said Senator Cryan. “President Trump’s senseless crusade to build a wall along our border with Mexico is victimizing federal workers, including those who are working without pay, those forced to stay home and the contract workers employed by businesses with federal contracts. Donald Trump does not understand the day-to-day financial demands of working people and he doesn’t seem to care.”

There are more than 20,000 employees working at federal agencies in New Jersey and more than 5,000 of them are employed by an agency without an appropriation. That number will grow over time as sources of funding run dry.

“These are working people who are having an increasingly difficult time paying their bills and they don’t know when this shutdown will end,” said Senator Sweeney. “It puts a severe strain on family finances and causes real anxiety for those who are living paycheck to paycheck. This will provide a grace period on property tax payments that could ease their pressures.”

The bills, S-3346 and S-3347, introduced on Tuesday, will allow taxpayers affected by the shutdown to have additional time to make payment on installments of municipal property taxes. Specifically, it would give them until the next quarterly property tax due date to make payment on any unpaid balance without accruing interest.

The companion bill would allow public employees impacted by the shutdown to get zero-interest loans against their pensions to manage their expenses, including their property taxes. Modelled after actions by some credit unions, such as Navy Federal Credit, that have set up personal loan pools for their members, the bill would aid state worker households who may have another family member impacted by the federal shutdown.  It would put cash in the hands of affected employees so that they can make mortgage, credit card payments, and car loan payments until back pay becomes available in the future.

“This is by no means a complete fix, but it will help to ameliorate the financial pain resulting from the forced shutdown that has been imposed on hard working employees and their families,” said Senator Cryan. “I would urge any business that receives payments from federal workers to be understanding and forgiving in payment schedules. It is not the fault of the workers that they have been put in a financial bind.”