I want to commend Governor Christie for his recent Conditional Veto of a bill that would have devastated the 2% cap on interest arbitration awards. It is difficult to fathom why the Democrat majority in the Legislature refuses to indefinitely extend the 2% cap in its current state.

With salaries, benefits and pension costs accounting for nearly 75% of municipal budgets, the 2% cap on interest arbitration awards is absolutely critical in reining in property taxes across the state. This is an issue that transcends political parties and ideologies - the devastation from losing this important tool will be felt by every governing body and taxpayer in the state. It is imperative that the Legislature incorporate the Governor's changes and pass the revised bill as soon as possible. Without it, local officials will be faced with exorbitant increases in labor costs, layoffs to key personnel and drastic reductions in services.

Gerry Scharfenberger
Middletown Township Committee