Fallacy: The taxes we pay this year, pay for the services we use this year.
Taxes will continue to rise because we need to pay for services consumed in earlier years. The amount of taxes paid in a single year does not pay for the services consumed in that year, because municipal and state governments can borrow money beyond your ability to pay it back. Now, to balance the spending, we need to both consume fewer services than in those previous years, while simultaneously paying higher taxes to cover the previously borrowed debt. When you are paying higher taxes for reduced services this year, thank the old guy down the street, and the politicians he voted for, because they didn’t pay their fair share. What you don’t understand Mr. Mintz, is that it’s you who are the problem.
From the Daily Journal:
First, the good news: Property tax increases have slowed in many New Jersey towns.
But the bad news is that many residents have seen municipal services cut as their taxes continue to climb.
Cities and suburbs all over New Jersey have laid off police officers and other public employees in the past 12 months as a drop in state aid and lingering economic doldrums have put the squeeze on municipal finances.
While many towns were able to keep property tax increases at or below a newly imposed 2 percent cap, municipal officials have been forced to cut jobs and slash services to keep from raising taxes even more.
The average property tax bill in New Jersey rose $167 this year, to $7,754, according to a New Jersey Press Media analysis of certified property tax rates in 545 of the state’s 566 municipalities. (The 21 other municipalities, including some of the state’s largest cities, have not yet set their rates.) New Jersey has been home to the highest average property tax in the nation for a number of years.
From 2010 to 2011, the average property tax bill rose 2.2 percent, slightly more than half of the 4.1 percent increase seen a year earlier.
The smaller increase is little consolation to people like Ocean County resident Barry Mintz. Property taxes on his home in Brick Township are now $8,500, up from about $5,000 when he moved in just 12 years ago. As taxes rose, municipal services declined, he said.
“We used to have twice-a-week garbage collection and now it’s down to once a week,” Mintz, 71, said. “When you downsize the public works department and cut services, what am I paying for?”
New Jersey government payrolls, including local, school, county and state workers, dropped by 29,000 at the end of last year, down to 622,000 jobs, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Gov. Chris Christie pledged to shrink the size of government during his 2009 campaign.
His spokesman Michael Drewniak last week said New Jersey has experienced “a remarkable turnaround, when you look at the skyward trajectory of state and local spending and resulting property tax hikes year after year in the decade before this administration arrived in Trenton.”
In Camden, the average property tax bill rose 10 percent, to $1,363.
In Newark, it rose 5.9 percent, to $6,063.
In Paterson, where 125 police officers were laid off, property tax bills jumped 17.4 percent, to an average of $8,833.
“Anyone who is honest and realistic with themselves knows that New Jersey and its municipalities were living beyond their means for way too long,” Drewniak said.