Little hope for property taxes

From the Asbury Park Press:

Assembly chief: Halving property taxes unlikely

Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr., D-Camden, said Tuesday that talk of cutting property taxes in half is “unrealistic.”

Roberts said he supports some of the ideas proposed by Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, and floated in media reports, but said the state could not afford the 20 percent to 50 percent cuts Burzichelli pondered.

Roberts said lawmakers are considering ways to provide more direct relief to property taxpayers — likely through government credits that would replace the existing property tax rebates — and through caps on property taxes.

Those caps, referred to as “circuit breakers,” could kick in when property taxes reach a certain level or consume a set percentage of a family’s income. Those credits could be linked to the same criteria, but lawmakers are still ironing out the details of how they would work, Roberts said.

One option said to be gaining steam would be selling or leasing a major state asset, such as the New Jersey Turnpike, to get a cash infusion large enough to provide relief.

Roberts said he would favor such a move, under the right circumstances.

“If the private sector can do something better, then the state should permit them to do it,” Roberts said. “If the state can gain some value by repositioning or reselling assets, we should very much consider doing it.”

“The session has become alarmingly stagnant and there is little hope that it will produce the bold action needed to alleviate New Jersey’s oppressive property taxes,” Sen. William Gormley, R-Atlantic, and Assemblyman Kevin O’Toole, R-Essex, wrote in a letter to Gov. Corzine. “The committees’ calendar of activities so far has been a blueprint for failure.”

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7 Responses to Little hope for property taxes

  1. James Bednar says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Too Many Fire Engines in New Jersey May Help Corzine Cut Taxes

    Bergen County, New Jersey, with 69 fire departments, has more fire-fighting equipment than New York City, which has almost 10 times as many people.

    New Jersey school districts are similarly plentiful: The state has 616, while Florida, with almost double the population, has just 67, one in each county.

    Some of that abundance may change. New Jersey, the state with the highest property taxes in the U.S., is looking for ways to trim municipal expenses by merging layers of government and tapping economies of scale. Lawmakers set a Nov. 15 deadline for proposing tax-cutting measures, and Governor Jon Corzine says his top priority for the special legislative session is consolidation of the more than 1,300 local governments with the power to tax.

    Options include adopting county-based school districts and offering financial incentives for municipalities to merge or share services.

    “You have more distinct jurisdictions per square mile in New Jersey than you do anywhere else in the country,” said Assemblyman Robert Gordon, a former fire commissioner in the Bergen County borough of Fair Lawn. “We’ve reached the point where we have to look seriously at whether there is a better way.”

  2. Lindsey says:


    It’s clear people are tired of talking about this and want action. I’m amazed at the lack of comments.

    Then again, perhaps my rip on Unrealtor’s politics is dampening such discussion here. If so, I’m sorry.

    Anyway, The fire equipment/district thing is truly egregious in this state. It’s really quite shameful how much is wasted on trucks that never see any meaningful work, and the districts quite often are nothing more than a way for a few insider’s to pick their neighbors pockets. Eliminating fire districts should be among the first things the state does in it’s effort to control property taxes.

    I know no one wants to bad mouth people who volunteer, but people need to open their eyes as to what some of these “volunteers” are actually volunteering for.

    The amount they steal is quite small actually, but their ability to do it does need to be ended.

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