From the Star Ledger:
Wealthier counties sent a higher percentage in income and sales taxes to Trenton than they got back in key types of state aid, while poorer counties paid less and got more, according to an economic analysis released today by Rutgers University.
In answer to the question, “Where do the revenues come from and where does the aid go by county and region?” the report found “a significant redistribution of resources” from high income areas to those of low and moderate income.
The new Rutgers Regional Report looked at the state county-by-county as of the fiscal year that ended in mid-2010, showing how much was paid in income and sales taxes, and how much counties got back in school, municipal and county aid from the state.
“It’s not winners and losers, there are differences,” said Joseph Seneca of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, lead author of the report. “It’s not a surprising result… This is (the result of) state policy over the years.”
A similar study conducted eight years ago found the same result, he said. “This is not a report on what should be, it is just a report on what is,” Seneca said.
The highest state school aid per pupil was in Cumberland County, at $14,681; followed by Hudson County, at $13,114; and Essex, at $12,160, according to the study. Bergen County got the lowest school aid per pupil, $2,297.
In affluent Somerset County — one of six largely-suburban counties identified by Rutgers as the state’s “Wealth Belt” — residents paid 7.1 percent of the taxes but received 1.9 percent of the state aid.
Freeholder Director Pat Walsh said the result “isn’t fair.”
“There’s no doubt in Somerset County there are wealthy people, some very wealthy people. But the majority of Somerset County residents are middle class residents,” she said. “Once again when you do the right thing, you end up at the bottom of the barrel.”
Hudson County, in contrast, paid 3.7 percent of the tax revenue, but received 10.8 percent of aid.