|June 18, 2008
State Budget Nears Completion
A general agreement among key State policy makers led to the introduction of a final budget bill in the Legislature late Tuesday, June 17. The bill will build on the Treasurer’s proposed May 13 changes, which added $15 million to CMPTRA for certain smaller municipalities, while reducing the SHARE and Extraordinary Aid programs by $14 million. The bill adds $10.8 million to CMPTRA for municipalities with a population of less than 10,000; $9.8 million to CMPTRA for those over 10,000; $6 million for REAP; and it would reduce the rural police liability by about $8 million. You can access a summary of the bill at: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/09Budget/ScoringSheet_June%2017.pdf
Both the May 13 adjustments to the proposed budget and those announced yesterday demonstrate the realization that the original proposal to slash municipal property tax relief funding by $189 million was unwise, unfair and unreasonable. We, therefore, salute the Governor and Legislative leadership for agreeing to lighten the impact of these cuts on local property taxpayers all around the State. Still, based on our best fast analysis of the proposed changes, local policy makers all around the State will need to account for the loss of about $154 million in municipal property tax relief funding. And, inevitably, so will our property taxpayers.
Many of them are already buckling under the burden of rising costs and flattening revenues. And all of them are already paying property taxes high above the national average. Last year, the Governor and the Legislature recognized and acted on New Jersey’s chronic need for property tax relief. But this budget represents a retreat.
We want to thank all of you who worked with us on this. And we salute our friends in the Legislature, especially those who have introduced budget resolutions to restore additional funding. And we support Resolutions 1005, 2009, 2019, 2033, 2102 and 2103, calling for more appropriate CMPTRA funding. We support Resolution 1026, which would eliminate the entire new rural State Police mandate. We support Resolution 2104, dealing with Special Municipal Aid. And we support Resolution 2002, which is needed to provide the State Match for the crucial Tide Telemetry flood early warning system.
We sincerely hope that this year’s budget will mark a turning point and that we can again return next year to an emphasis on meaningful and sustainable property tax relief.
For more information on any of this, contact Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.