Less than two weeks before a New Jersey law capping police and firefighter arbitration awards is set to expire, Republican Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon is introducing a bill that would make it permanent.

The existing measure limits increases in those contract awards to 2 percent. O'Scanlon said the limit needs to continue so municipal officials in New Jersey can craft local budgets that stay within the state's mandated 2 percent cap on property tax increases.

"It has been one of the key things that's resulted in towns' ability to stabilize property taxes over the past four years," O'Scanlon said. "We have seen the lowest increase in property taxes in 15 years, and we will continue that if we continue this policy."

Mayors say the cap is needed to be able to plan for the future.

O'Scanlon said police salary costs account for about 25 percent of local budgets and should not be allowed to increase faster than a town's ability to raise revenue.

The current law capping awards expires at the end of this month.

O'Scanlon, R-Monmouth, said he's hopeful of getting bipartisan support in the Democratic-controlled legislature to get the measure enacted quickly.