From the AP:
A leading New Jersey mayor calls New Jersey’s highest-in-the-nation property taxes “public policy enemy number one.”
In doing so, he beseeches New Jersey lawmakers to reject Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s plan to slash state aid for towns and cities.
East Orange Mayor Robert Bowser plans to testify Wednesday before the Assembly Budget Committee that nothing is more important than property tax relief.
“Every state policy, and especially the state budget, has to be viewed from that perspective,” Bowser said.
Local officials claim the proposed 10.5 percent cut in municipal aid would boost property taxes that are twice the national average at $6,800 per homeowner.
Corzine’s $33 billion budget plan seeks $2.7 billion in spending cuts to try to fix state finances plagued by deficits, high debt and taxes and sagging revenues.
It proposes cuts in state funding for property tax rebates as well as aid for municipalities, hospitals, colleges and universities and nursing homes.
“It is hard to get away from the fact that these are lean times, in addition to the structural problems we have as a state,” Corzine said.
Corzine’s municipal aid cuts would hit smaller towns hardest — sharp decreases for communities with 5,000 to 10,000 people and nothing for towns with less than 5,000 people. Those towns could get grants to help share services or merge with neighbors.
Property taxes rose 5.4 percent last year statewide.