A good day for property tax reform

From the Trentonian:

Politicians tackle tax cut plan today

Of The TRENTON — Plans that aim to give most New Jersey homeowners a 20 percent property tax cut and hold future property tax increases to 4 percent are expected to be considered today by the Assembly, though lawmakers haven’t had much time to review the plan.

Monday will be the first time legislators consider the centerpiece of the half-year effort to cut the nation’s highest property taxes, which are twice the national average.

“We are at the threshold of delivering significant relief in tandem with a system of caps to ensure that taxpayer savings do not get eroded over time,” said Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts Jr.

The bill is going straight to an Assembly vote without committee hearings most bills receive, a process that angered Republicans who contend the cut is an election-year gimmick by majority Democrats.

The Assembly is also slated Monday to consider bills that would:

_ Create a state comptroller demanded by Gov. Jon S. Corzine. The Assembly approved the post, but must consider Senate changes that critics said weakened the position.

_ Create a commission to annually ask voters to merge towns. The Assembly also approved this bill, but must consider Senate changes.

_ Strip taxpayer-paid pensions and require jail for corrupt public workers. The Senate has approved this.

_ Bar newly elected and appointed officials and workers such as municipal attorneys from receiving taxpayer-paid pensions. The Senate has also approved this.

_ Impose new rules regarding public notice and revising of contracts for school administrators. The Assembly approved the bill, but must consider Senate changes.

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16 Responses to A good day for property tax reform

  1. njrebear says:

    I guess second homes / flipper / ‘investment’ properties will be able to claim rebate.

    Will tax rebates be based on ‘stated’ income or actual income?

    What about corporations that own multi-family homes (apartments)?

  2. njrebear says:

    The 4% cap puts a constraint on smaller townships that have a potential to grow fast. The more mature townships may be able to get away with ‘just’ a 4% gain. I don’t know if there are any ‘small’ townships in NJ but if there are, watch out.

  3. RentinginNJ says:

    Create a state comptroller – More government jobs in NJ and another layer or bureaucracy…and, most of the comptroller’s proposed powers have already been stripped from the bill

    Create a commission – the political version of punting the football. Study the problem and let the next guy worry about it.

    Strip taxpayer-paid pensions and require jail for corrupt public workers. – It’s the right thing to do and it’s a crime this hasn’t happened already. Again, however, the senate watered this down. It’s not retroactive and you only lose the pension for the particular job where you were convicted for corruption. Besides, how much money will this really add up to?

    Bar newly elected and appointed officials from receiving taxpayer-paid pensions. – Good move in the right direction, but again, how much does this really add up to? What about pensions overall?

  4. James Bednar says:

    From the Asbury Park Press:

    Proposed cap full of leaks

    Gov. Corzine and the Legislature say they will keep property taxes from rising by capping them at 4 percent a year.

    Like most of the proposals they have put forth for property tax relief, this one is a sham. Why? For starters:

    A 4 percent cap is actually higher than the current caps on municipal and school spending. The municipal cap is 3.5 percent. The school cap is 2.5 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is higher.

    The 4 percent cap is higher than the 2006 rate of inflation in the New York-North Jersey area — 3.3 percent.

    Despite the caps now in place, property taxes have continued to increase by an average of 7 percent a year — roughly double the school and municipal caps.

    A 3.5 percent cap doesn’t actually limit spending increases to 3.5 percent because large portions of the budgets are exempted from it. Although the items that would be exempted under the Democrats’ cap seem to change daily, major exceptions are sure to remain.

    Under a version expected to be introduced in the Senate, the caps would exclude school costs associated with enrollment increases and health care costs under existing contracts. Municipal and county governments and fire districts could exempt debt, employee pensions, uncollected taxes and health care costs under existing contracts. And towns would be able to petition the state or seek voter approval to exempt costs from leases and utilities and those mandated by a court, the state and the federal government. What’s left to exempt?

  5. curiousd says:

    njrebear, there’s tons of small townships. maybe thats the point… in the end Corzine is looking for consolidation. This is the doable way towards that goal for better or worse.

  6. RentinginNJ says:

    The 4% cap puts a constraint on smaller townships that have a potential to grow

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the 4% cap applied to a homeowners property taxes and not the town’s total income. In other words, a small but growing town would be adding rateables and expanding the tax base.

    I could see this as a double edge sword. On the positive side, it seems like towns should become more welcoming to business. It’s a way to expand the tax base without putting too much additional pressure on services.

    On the other hand, towns are also likely to continue anti family housing policies. This means more active adult communities, luxury condos and McMansions. If demand for this type of housing dries up, they will simply stonewall the developers.

  7. thatbigwindow says:

    eliminate County level police. With State Troopers and Municipal police, why have County? Hudson County eliminated their County Police and all is well…

  8. RentinginNJ says:

    eliminate County level police.

    Also, make small South Jersey towns pay for their own police force. Why do I have to pay for police in my town and state troopers to provide policing to small SJ towns.

  9. BC Bob says:


    There are also small towns in northwest jersey where policing is provided by the state police.

  10. njrebear says:

    ” In other words, a small but growing town would be adding rateables and expanding the tax base.”

    The expanding tax base will help in the long run but when you build a few hundred homes you need start up capital to setup essential services. The only way start up capital can be collected is by taxing existing owners. As far as i understand, attracting business is more to do with state policies rather than local townships.

  11. njrebear says:

    Bottom line – “one size fits all” scheme doesn’t work.

  12. Mrb says:

    the rebate is only good on the first $10,000 of property tax ,the whole idea is a ruse.. doing away with rebate ,and raising sales tax by 16% plus adding new taxes on goods and services ,were still losers …figure it out my taxes went up 8% last year with a bogus 3 1/2 % cap …this is a joke

  13. Stch Plns says:

    I would love to see a consolidation of municipalities in NJ. Just speaking of my own little area, I pass through 4 towns in 5 minutes driving home on route 28 (35mph max)at least combine some police forces and school systems. Just cutting the administrative employees in half would be a good start.

  14. RentinginNJ says:

    Corzine: Tax cut will take time
    With the Assembly prepared to vote today on legislation that would provide a 20 percent property tax cut for a majority of New Jersey homeowners, Gov. Jon Corzine cautioned property tax payers not to expect immediate relief.

    “In the first year I don’t think it will be a great break from the 6 percent to 7 percent (average annual tax increase), but then it should be moving down each year,” he told reporters at the Statehouse in Trenton. He also reminded everyone that local governments still face contracted public employee wage hikes and increasing health care and meeting neglected pension costs.


  15. Jim says:

    We must vote out ALL incumbents, new blood is needed.

    We have to show our strenght, just as the teacher’s union does.

    NJ is fading fast!!!


  16. sumfukup says:

    the sham REBATE is unconstitutional it violates a clause in the NJ Sate Constitution that mandates the state to”… treat all property owners equally, regardless of income….” this whole mess will be thrown back to square one….nothing done

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