Statehouse Update

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver appears ready to move forward with legislation to reform health and pension benefits for public employees. Earlier in the week she dismissed the plans of Senator Sweeney to get by with a small cadre of Democrats and the bulk of Republicans. The Star-Ledger quoted Assemblywoman Linda Spender, who said that health care contributions should be negotiated at the bargaining table. (School boards across NJ swooned in horror.) But after a series of meetings with Gov. Christie and Sen. Sweeney, the Courier-Post reports today that Speaker Oliver said, “I may have a product.”

Apparently Gov. Christie has wiggled on his proposed 30% premium contributions regardless of employee income and “this has led to a breakthrough in the talks.”