Trenton – Landmark legislation to implement a new health benefits plan designed to produce more than $1 billion in annual savings for property taxpayers and educators as it preserves quality health care for teachers and other school employees was signed into law today by Governor Phil Murphy.
Sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senator Joe Cryan and Senator Linda Greenstein in the Senate, the reforms are the result of a cooperative working agreement with Marie Blistan, the President of the New Jersey Education Association, resulting in annual savings of approximately $600 million for local governments, $400 million for educators and $40 million for the state.
“These reforms will produce lasting financial savings for local taxpayers and educators at the same time they maintain quality health care for public workers,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “These achievements are even more important at this time as local governments experience severe fiscal problems because of the shutdown and the need for medical care is vital because of the pandemic. It is an innovative way to address the issues of healthcare costs and quality and it’s a real win for local property taxpayers who will see substantial and sustained savings.”
“This is good for teachers and other educators who perform such an important role in educating and guiding students,” said Senator Cryan (D-Union). “It comes at a critical time when school systems will make healthcare more affordable for them at a time when they are experiencing financial demands and higher costs for medical services. They deserve quality care that they can afford. I want to thank Marie Blistan, Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Coughlin and my legislative colleagues for working to get this done. It’s a significant achievement that will produce benefits for educators and taxpayers.”
“These trying times have highlighted just how much we ask of our teachers and how much we will continue to ask of them,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Coupled with the loss in revenue on the state and local level we must find a way to cut costs responsibly. This landmark legislation will save on costs, while ensuring school personnel in our communities have access to affordable healthcare.”
“This law is a win-win-win for NJEA members, our students and New Jersey residents,” said NJEA President Marie Blistan. “That was only possible because we worked together in the best interests of this state. I thank Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney, and Speaker Coughlin. We found the common ground and created solutions that help everyone. Because of how we all came together, our schools are stronger, our members are more secure and our communities are in a better position as we face the serious challenges ahead.”