TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Steve Sweeney and Senator Thomas Kean H. Kean, Jr., which would prevent worker and employer contribution funds like the Unemployment, Temporary Disability Insurance, and Paid Family Leave funds from being “raided,” and used for other purposes like balancing the State budget was unanimously approved today by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
“Voters deserve the chance to weigh in and decide whether or not they want to protect these funds that employees work so hard to secure,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem. “As a member of the Budget and Appropriations panel, I understand the hard decisions that go into crafting the State budget; however, we cannot allow our finances to be balanced on the backs of hard-working men and women who might have a legitimate need for a safety net due to unemployment, injury or family emergency. In essence, the bill would put these employee and employer contributions in a constitutional lock-box, only to be opened when needed by the workers who have been paying into it each month.”
The Senators’ measure, SCR-60, would allow voters to decide in favor of protecting employee contribution funds from being used for anything other than their intended purpose.
Diverting taxpayer contributions to help balance the budget is nothing new, Senator Sweeney said. Between 1995 and 2004, roughly $365 million was diverted from the Temporary Disability Insurance Fund.
“Unfortunately, past administrations from both parties have been guilty of using money from these various funds to plug holes in the State budget – which is why Senator Kean and I have chosen to work together on this issue. Both parties got us into this, and it will take the cooperation of both parties to shore up these funds. This is all about working together to protect hard-working New Jerseyans,” said Senator Sweeney.
This measure now heads to the full Senate for approval.