SCI report finds 'union business' costly to taxpayers

EDISON - A report by the state Commission of Investigation finds that New Jersey taxpayers are paying millions of dollars toward public employees who do little or no work.

The report finds that since 2006, the state has spent more than $30 million in salaries and benefits for workers who have been on permanent leave so they can work full-time for unions. Some union officials have been on paid leave for years or even decades, according to the report.

Gov. Chris Christie said in a written statement, "This shady, often-hidden public subsidy of union leave from paid public employment costs us all millions every year and must end."

The state teachers union insists the report is politically motivated and the money is actually well-spent.

The report reveals that four police officers and five firefighters have been on permanent union leave for five years, costing taxpayers $7.8 million. Members of the teachers union assigned to union business cost tax payers $1.2 million.

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