On April 3, 2007, Governor Corzine signed the “Property Tax Credits and Levy Caps” and the “CORE Reform” bills, ceremonially marking the culminating accomplishments of the historic Special Legislative Session for Property Tax Reform. Less than a year later, with the submission of the Governor’s proposed budget to the Legislature, it seems the celebration might have been somewhat premature.
We know that many of you have already reached out to your State Legislators and contacted the Governor’s Office, opposing the proposed $190 million municipal property tax relief funding cuts. By explaining your municipality’s budget, your constituents’ service needs and the economies that you have already implemented, you have already made a difference in the debates. For our part, so far, in addition to keeping you informed on the latest developments, we have been doing what we need to do to focus State leaders on the impact of these cuts to municipalities all around the state.
At two meetings in Trenton, we have asked the Governor and other key state policy makers to speak and to listen to you. Governor Corzine, Treasurer Rousseau and Commissioner Doria now better understand the particular problems that these arbitrary cuts will impose. They know that any municipal property tax relief funding cuts may need to be phased in. And they agree that property tax relief needs to be predictable, substantial and sustainable. But they remain committed to cutting state spending.
We have written to the Governor and to all legislators, opposing the cuts. We have written two op-eds and numerous Press Advisories on the topic. Our President, Mayor Bowser, testified before the Assembly Budget Committee. Our First Vice President, Mayor McDonough, and Helmetta Mayor Martin have testified before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee in opposition to the cuts. We are coordinating more testimony at future meetings by local officials all around the state. And we have met with many individual Legislators, including the Senate and Assembly Minority Leaders, in opposition to the cuts. On April 17 we had a press conference at the State House to renew our call for property tax relief. The Administration, the Legislature and the State House Press Corps are all now well aware of the problems that would follow the cuts.
We will continue to work with lawmakers in Trenton. If you haven’t already done so, we urge you to work with the League Executive Board Member for your county and your County League and Mayors’ Association to contact your district legislators. We invite you to visit www.njslom.org/2009-budget-main.html for frequent updates on developments. If you need any assistance with this, don’t hesitate to contact our Legislative Relations staff.
Editorial from New Jersey
Municipalities, Volume 85, Number 5, May 2008