December 20, 2022
SHBP Municipalities: Reach Out to Governor & Your Legislators
In less than two weeks, the 379 municipalities participating in the State Health Benefits system, along with their employees, and ultimately their taxpayers, will have to fund a 22% increase in health benefits costs. It is imperative that the Governor and your legislators hear directly from you about the negative impacts this increase will have on your budget, your employees, and your taxpayers.
The New Jersey League of Municipalities, the New Jersey Conference of Mayors, the New Jersey Urban Mayors Association, and New Jersey Association of Counties continues to work with other interested stakeholders, including the major public sector union representatives, to address the unsustainable 22% increase in 2023 for the State Health Benefits Plan (SHBP) municipalities.
Recognizing that the increase over the previous plan year is $350 million, we are seeking immediate financial relief by providing local governments with grants to fully off-set the increase, with savings shared with the public employees. Further, we call on the Plan Design Committee and State Health Benefits Commission to implement long-term and permanent savings.
It is rare that unions and management are completely on the same page. However, this unprecedented coalition representing both labor and management has come together as one because the stakes are so high.
Please take action immediately. With so little time remaining, it is critical for Mayors and elected officials in municipalities that participate in the SHBP to directly reach out to your Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA) contact in the Governor’s office and reiterate to your Legislators the need for an acceptable resolution of these newly imposed costs on municipal and county governments, our public employees, and taxpayers. If you have already reached out, please do so again–we need their attention and action.
Mike Cerra, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481, x120.
- Lori Buckelew, Deputy Executive Director & Director of Government Affairs, email@example.com, 609-695-3481, x112.
Call your Member of Congress TODAY for ARPA Flexibility
Congress' last task before the holidays is the FY2023 Omnibus Appropriations bill, and as of Friday, the ARPA Flexibility provisions that the League’s federal partner, the National League of Cities (NLC), has been advocating was included with both Senate Leaders Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) backing but a late-breaking Congressional Budget Office scoring change on the provisions caused it to be withdrawn at the last minute before today's release of the text.
NLC’s staff have identified a fix that Treasury finds acceptable to make this revenue neutral, and there will now be a push to include ARPA Flexibility as a Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) amendment on the floor. Please reach out to your U.S. House representative TODAY and urge them to share their support with the House Leadership – including Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer – to put ARPA Flex into the FY2023 Omnibus Appropriation bill.
The bipartisan State, Local Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act, also called ARPA Flex, (S. 3011/H.R. 5735) was approved by unanimous consent in the Senate on October 19, 2021. The Act would permit the U.S. Department of the Treasury to restore program and administration assistance to local government grantees that are managing ARPA Local Fiscal Recovery Fund grants. This assistance is especially helpful to many small and mid-sized local governments that do not have full-time grant managers. It would also allow Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to be used in conjunction with other federal infrastructure and community development grants. Lastly, it would provide "emergency relief from natural disasters or the negative economic impacts of natural disasters, including temporary emergency housing, food assistance, financial assistance for lost wages, or other immediate needs."
Contact: Paul Penna, Senior Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481, x110.
RAISE Grant Funding and Upcoming Webinars Set
The next round of U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant program is now open. $1.5 billion in competitive grant funding is available for a broad range of infrastructure projects and planning activities.
This program helps communities around the country carry out road, rail, transit, and port projects with significant local or regional impact. Projects should improve safety, equity, climate, and sustainability.
Examples of projects that local governments may consider include:
Bridge and road projects
Intermodal transportation projects
Stormwater prevention, including replacing/rehabilitating culverts
Planning and pre-construction activities
While no dates have been set, DOT will be hosting a series of webinars in the coming weeks.
We also highly recommend discussing your potential projects with the Metropolitan Planning Organization, which can be a critical partner in getting your project added to the State Transportation Improvement Plan and are an excellent resource for technical assistance and planning as well. In New Jersey according to the US DOT the Metropolitan Planning Organizations are the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), North Jersey Transportation Authority (NJTPA), and South Jersey Transportation Organization (SJTPO).
The application deadline is February 28, 2023.