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N.J. State Workers Rally for ‘Millionaires Tax,’ Against Benefit Cuts

June 20, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

TRENTON, N.J.—New Jersey public workers rallied outside the Statehouse June 13, supporting Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed tax on income over $1 million and state Senate President Stephen Sweeney’s plans to cut their pension and health benefits. “Come July 1, there will be a full accounting of who was on which side,” Communications Workers of America New Jersey director Hetty Rosenstein told the crowd, which the union estimated at 3.000. The state budget is due June 30, and both Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) oppose tax increases. Sweeney, meanwhile, has introduced a package of bills that would raise what public workers have to pay for health care, and base pensions for employees hired in the last five years on no more than the first $40,000 of their income. “It’s gonna put us all in poverty,” CWA member Christopher Iacona, a senior claims examiner for the state Department of Labor, told NJ Advance Media. Rosenstein called Sweeney’s plan “nothing less than immoral” because it would impose cuts by legislation without bargaining with public-sector unions. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) posted a message of support on Twitter, urging legislators to “side with workers and reject pension and health-care cuts.” Read more

June 20, 2019

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