Ruiz Expresses Disappointment in Rush to Approve Health Benefits Plan, Absence of Productive Negotiations

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Senate Majority Leader Says Immediate Solutions, Greater Transparency Needed to Protect Taxpayers

 

Trenton – Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz issued the following statement today on the proposed rate hikes for public sector health benefits:

 

“The financial realities we have faced due to the pandemic have been tough. With the recent announcement of a double digit increase for public employee health benefits, the outpouring of concern on this issue is understandable. While nationwide health benefit rate trends have increased roughly 10 percent, New Jersey’s increase absent any solution, could ultimately lead to higher property taxes. We should all be concerned because there are consequences for employees, state and local government, schools and the taxpayers.

 

“More robust discussions need to occur to find immediate solutions to lessen the financial impact this year and to produce long term cost savings. The committees should put off approval of the proposal to allow for productive negotiations to find these solutions.

 

“In addition to taking actions to alleviate the immediate financial impact of this proposal, they should reform the process so this never happens again. They need to bring greater transparency and accountability to what is an opaque process that allowed these proposed increases to go unchecked. Expanding the membership of the commissions to include representation of the sectors that will feel the impact is a strong step in the right direction.

 

“Health care costs and services are a major concern for everyone – they should be managed responsibly and effectively.”