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June 20, 2014

Police and firefighters would be eligible to receive no more than a 2 percent annual raise from arbitrators for the next three years under legislation that Gov. Chris Christie is expected to quickly sign into law.

Under New Jersey state law, police and firefighters are eligible to go to interest arbitration -- a process similar to that used in professional sports -- if they reach an impasse in their contract negotiations with counties and municipalities.

The 2 percent cap expired in April, and Christie has repeatedly called for its renewal, arguing that the cap on police and firefighter raises is necessary because counties and municipalities are not permitted to increase spending by more than 2 percent annually.

The compromise bill, which passed the Assembly Monday and the Senate yesterday, provides for slightly larger raises than the original three-year legislation by allowing the annual increases to be compounded over the term of the contract; previously, the 2 percent increases were calculated based on the first-year salary.

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