Last year’s historic Special Session for Property Tax Reform deserves much credit. The tremendous efforts of legislators, the Governor and all of their staffs have yielded a solid foundation for future progress towards property tax reform. But much still remains to be done.
Elected officials at the local level have been dealing with the property tax crisis on a daily basis for many years. Their fellow citizens rely on them to deliver vital life enhancing and life sustaining services. Yet the only reliable revenue source allowed to them by the State of New Jersey is the property tax. We have known that we have needed reform for a long time. And we had appealed for action, to a long series of state administrations and Legislatures.
It was only after decades of inaction on real, sustainable property tax reform, that we began to call for a Citizens Convention for Property Tax Reform. But in lieu of that, state policy makers opted for the historic Special Session.
Over a year has now passed since the Special Session was convened. Eight months have elapsed since its major accomplishments were signed into law. But we remain concerned with the lack of a new school funding formula and with the failure to address the thorny revenue side issues. So, we will continue to work with Governor Corzine, concerned Legislators and with our partners in the Citizens Convention Coalition, in ongoing efforts to provide meaningful property tax reform and substantial and sustainable property tax relief for New Jersey’s citizens.
While state level leaders can be proud of their Special Session, they must be humble enough to admit that the people who bear the burden might be better able to finish what they started. And a Citizens Convention could be the way to get it done.
Editorial from New Jersey
Municipalities, Volume 84, Number 7, October 2007