SENATE BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE

 

STATEMENT TO

 

SENATE, No. 2851

 

with committee amendments

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

DATED:  DECEMBER 15, 2016

 

      The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee reports favorably Senate Bill No. 2851, with committee amendments.

      As amended, this bill increases the maximum salary allowed for the Governor’s cabinet officers and members of the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to $175,000 for calendar year 2017 and thereafter, while also setting $141,000 as the minimum required salary.  The language in current law is modified to specifically recognize that the Governor may establish the annual salary for the cabinet officers and BPU members in any amount not less than $141,000 that the Governor determines to be appropriate for each person.  The Governor requires the flexibility to set the annual salary at any amount within the limits specified, which need not be the same for all of these officers.

      In addition, the bill provides for a three percent increase on January, 1, 2017, in the annual salaries for the justices of the Supreme Court, Appellate Division judges, Assignment judges, judges of the Superior Court, and judges of the Tax Court, and another three percent increase on January 1, 2018, calculated on the 2017 annual salary amounts.   The bill provides for an automatic annual adjustment on those 2018 salaries for calendar year 2019, and annually thereafter, based on the change in the Consumer Price Index.  Under current law, the annual salary for workers’ compensation judges, administrative law judges, surrogates, county clerks, registers of deeds and mortgages, and sheriffs are linked to the annual salary for a Superior Court judge so that they receive the specific or minimum percentage, that is set by law, of the Superior Court judges’ salaries.  The statutes that provide for these linked salaries are clearly mandatory in nature and when the salaries of judges are increased, the linked salaries must also be increased, including retroactively. The statutory language must be complied with, including retroactively, to achieve the Legislature’s intent.

      The bill increases the annual salaries of county prosecutors to be fixed by the governing body of each county from $165,000 (last set by statute on January 1, 2009) to $170,000 beginning on January 1, 2017, and $175,000 beginning on January 1, 2018 and thereafter.

      The bill removes the $200,000 cap placed on the salary of the Director of the Division of Investment.

      The bill codifies the annual allowance provided to each member of the Senate and General Assembly for member staff services, which will be $140,000 beginning in the 2017 legislative session.  The current allowance is $110,000 and is not provided for by statute.

      The bill codifies a provision for the annual salary of the executive director of each full time legislative staff operating under the direction of the Senate President, the Speaker of the General Assembly, and the Minority Leaders of each House of the Legislature.  Currently, these salaries are not provided for by statute.  Under the bill, the salary for each executive director will be fixed and established by the President of the Senate or by the Speaker of the General Assembly, as appropriate, in any amount that the President or Speaker determines to be appropriate for that director, but not to exceed $175,000 in calendar year 2017 and thereafter.  While this maximum amount for the annual salary is identical to the maximum amount for the annual salary for the Governor’s cabinet officers and members of the Board of Public Utilities, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the General Assembly will have complete discretion to set the salaries for the legislative executive directors at any amount that is at or below this maximum, as they deem appropriate, regardless of the decisions made by the Governor for the salaries of the cabinet officers and members of the Board of Public Utilities.  The President and Speaker require the flexibility to set the annual salary for each executive director at any amount, whether at or below the maximum, irrespective of the salaries of the Executive Branch officers.

      Finally, this bill adds compensation for books and published works to the list of income a designated State officer may solicit or receive. The designated State officer must first seek review and approval by the State Ethics Commission to ensure that the receipt of such income does not violate the "New Jersey Conflicts of Interest Law" or any applicable code of ethics, and that it does not undermine the full and diligent performance of the designated State officer's duties.

      The law defines “designated State officer” as the:

      Governor;

      Adjutant General;

      Secretary of Agriculture;

      Attorney General;

      Commissioner of Banking and Insurance;

      Director of the Division of Business Assistance, Marketing, and International Trade;

      Commissioner of Community Affairs;

      Commissioner of Corrections;

      Commissioner of Education;

      Commissioner of Environmental Protection;

      Commissioner of Health;

      Commissioner of Human Services;

      Commissioner of Children and Families;

      Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development;

      President of the State Board of Public Utilities;

      Secretary of State;

      Superintendent of State Police;

      Commissioner of Transportation;

      State Treasurer;

      Head of any other department in the Executive Branch; and

      Staff of the Office of the Governor (Chief of Staff, Chief of Management and Operations, Chief of Policy and Communications, Chief Counsel to the Governor, Director of Communications, Policy Counselor to the Governor, and any deputy or principal administrative assistant to any of the aforementioned staff members).

 

COMMITTEE AMENDMENTS:

      The committee amendment clarify that two separate annual increases of 3% occur on the previously set annual salary amount of salaries for the justices of the Supreme Court, Appellate Division judges, Assignment judges, judges of the Superior Court, and judges of the Tax Court.  Thus the bill, as amended, more clearly provides for the intended three percent increase on January, 1, 2017, in the annual salaries for the justices of the Supreme Court, Appellate Division judges, Assignment judges, judges of the Superior Court, and judges of the Tax Court, and another three percent increase on January 1, 2018, calculated on the 2017 annual salary amounts.  

 

FISCAL IMPACT:

      The Office of Legislative Services estimates that the total potential impact of this bill, on a calendar year basis (January 1-December 31) is a combined state and county expenditure increase of about $7.45 million in 2017, about $10.6 million in 2018, and an indeterminate amount annually thereafter, but at least $10.6 million.

      Converting the bill’s impact on State expenditures only to a fiscal year basis (July 1-June 30), the OLS estimates that the total potential impact of this bill is a state expenditure increase of about $3.6 million in fiscal year 2017, about $8.6 million in fiscal year 2018, and an indeterminate amount in FY 2019 and annually thereafter, but at least $10 million.

      The bill’s cost impact on State government consists of mandatory costs increases and discretionary cost increases.  Mandatory cost increases comprise judicial salary increases; workers compensation judge and administrative law judge salary increases; increased member staff service allowances for each member of the Senate and General Assembly; and county prosecutors’ salary increases, which the state is required by law to fund.  Discretionary cost increases comprise increased maximum salaries for legislative executive director positions, Executive branch cabinet members and members of the Board of Public Utilities (BPU).  The OLS estimates these costs, on a fiscal year basis, as follows:

 

Mandatory cost increases

Fiscal Year 2017 ($$ in thousands)

Fiscal Year 2018 ($$ in thousands)

Fiscal Year 2019 ($$ in thousands)

 

Judicial branch salaries and benefits

 

 

 

 

$1,152

 

 

 

$3,491

 

 

Indeterminate, at least $4,678

Executive branch judges

 

$  179

 

$  542

Indeterminate, at least $727

 

Legislature member staff services

 

 

 

$1,800

 

 

 

$3,600

 

 

 

$3,600

 

County prosecutors salaries

 

 

 

$    53

 

 

 

$  158

 

 

 

$   210

 

Total

 

$3,184

 

$7,791

Indeterminate, at least $9,215

 

 

 

Discretionary cost increases

Fiscal Year 2017 ($$ in thousands)

Fiscal Year 2018 ($$ in thousands)

Fiscal Year 2019 ($$ in thousands)

 

Legislative executive directors

 

 

$ 68

 

 

$136

 

 

$136

 

Executive branch cabinet/BPU members

 

 

 

$340

 

 

 

$680

 

 

 

$680

 

Total

 

$408

 

$816

 

$816

 

The tables below set forth the details of the bill’s impact, by calendar year (January 1-December 31).


 

TABLE 1

MANDATORY INCREASES

SALARIES

TOTAL SALARY INCREASE

Current

2017

2018

2019

#

2017

2018

2019

JUDGES

Supreme Court Chief Justice

$192,795

$198,579

$204,536

CPI

1

$5,784

$11,741

Unknown

Supreme Court Assoc Justices

$185,842

$191,417

$197,160

CPI

6

$33,452

$67,907

Unknown

Superior Court Appellate Judges

$175,534

$180,800

$186,224

CPI

32

$168,513

$342,081

Unknown

Superior Court Assignment Judges

$171,731

$176,883

$182,189

CPI

15

$77,279

$156,876

Unknown

Superior Court Judges

$165,000

$169,950

$175,049

CPI

396

$1,960,200

$3,979,206

Unknown

Tax Court Judges

$165,000

$169,950

$175,049

CPI

12

$59,400

$120,582

Unknown

SUBTOTAL

462

$2,304,627

$4,678,393

Unknown

 

 

 

 

 

SALARIES

 

 

 

TOTAL SALARY INCREASE

WORKERS COMPENSATION JUDGES

Current

2017

2018

2019

#

2017

2018

2019

Chief Judge

$146,850

$151,256

$155,793

CPI

1

$4,406

$8,943

Unknown

Judges

$140,250

$144,458

$148,791

CPI

39

$164,093

$333,108

Unknown

SUBTOTAL

40

$168,498

$342,051

Unknown

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGES

Chief Judge

$146,850

$151,256

$155,793

CPI

1

$4,406

$8,943

Unknown

Judges

$140,250

$144,458

$148,791

CPI

44

$185,130

$375,814

Unknown

SUBTOTAL

45

$189,536

$384,757

Unknown

COUNTY PROSECUTORS

$165,000

$170,000

$175,000

$175,000

21

$105,000

$210,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL MANDATORY STATE SALARY COST

 

 

 

 

 

$2,767,661

$5,615,201

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE AND GENERAL ASSEMBLY

TOTAL INCREASE

 

Current

2017

2018

2019

#

2017

2018

2019

Member Staff Services Allowance

$110,000

$140,000

$140,000

$140,000

120

$3,600,000

$3,600,000

$3,600,000

 

Table 2 illustrates the maximum salary increases of various State and Legislative officials permitted by the bill.

TABLE 2

SALARY INCREASE GUIDELINES—POTENTIAL INCREASES

SALARIES

TOTAL SALARY INCREASE

Current

2017

2018

2019

#

2017

2018

2019

Legislative Executive Directors

$141,000

$175,000

$175,000

$175,000

4

$136,000

$136,000

$136,000

Cabinet

$141,000

$175,000

$175,000

$175,000

15

$510,000

$510,000

$510,000

Board of Public Utilities

$141,000

$175,000

$175,000

$175,000

5

$170,000

$170,000

$170,000

SUBTOTAL

24

$816,000

$816,000

$816,000

 

Table 3 illustrates the minimum salaries that the counties must pay to various county officials.

TABLE 3

COUNTY OFFICIAL SALARIES TIED TO JUDICIAL SALARIES

SALARIES

SALARY INCREASE

Current

2017

2018

2019

#

2017

2018

2019

County Surrogate

$107,250

$110,468

$113,782

CPI

21

$67,568

$137,162

Unknown

County Clerk

$107,250

$110,468

$113,782

CPI

21

$67,568

$137,162

Unknown

Registers of Deeds & Mortgages

$107,250

$110,468

$113,782

CPI

21

$67,568

$137,162

Unknown

Sheriff

$107,250

$110,468

$113,782

CPI

21

$67,568

$137,162

Unknown

TOTAL POTENTIAL COUNTY COSTS

84

$270,270

$548,648

Unknown