TRENTON - A bill introduced by Senator Vin Gopal aiming to help prevent rising property taxes by promoting shared services between towns and school districts was approved by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee this Thursday.
Under the bill (S-750), municipalities and boards of education would be allowed to share the costs of health insurance plans, allowing both entities to save money by increasing their bargaining power and reducing administrative costs.
“Monmouth County is one of the highest-taxed regions in the entire nation, and shared services - both between and within towns - is one of the ways we can push back against rising property tax rates,” said Senator Gopal (D-Long Branch). “This bill can help our towns and schools give their employees the same high-quality insurance benefits they’ve always depended on - but at a lower price and with greater flexibility. It’s time to help municipal governments buy insurance wholesale - not retail - and start saving potentially millions of dollars in taxpayer money.”
Currently, municipalities and boards of education enter into separate health insurance plans, forcing them to contract independently for insurance - even where a joint insurance plan could save both entities money.
Under the bill, municipalities would be able to enter into joint insurance contracts with regional, consolidated, limited purpose, and vocational school districts, in addition to single-town districts, should their respective boards of education choose to do so.
The bill was approved by a unanimous vote. It now proceeds to the floor of the Senate for a full vote.