Salary caps possible for NJ police, firefighters

A battle is brewing at the Statehouse over whether to cap salary increases for public employees who can't strike.Mayors want arbitration awards to police and

TRENTON - A battle is brewing at the Statehouse over whether to cap salary increases for public employees who can't strike.

Mayors want arbitration awards to police and firefighters capped at 2 percent to help them control property taxes.

Union officials say a 2 percent ceiling on salary and benefits awards would mean pay givebacks once health care cost increases are factored in.

Both sides will make their case before a Senate committee this afternoon. Gov. Chris Christie's reform agenda includes making the arbitration process more favorable to municipalities.

Christie signed a law limiting property tax increases to 2 percent a year beginning in January.Mayors say they'll have to cut services unless the state finds ways to help them lower costs.

AP wire services contributed to this report.

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