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July 12, 2011

RE: First Effort to Restore Municipal Property Tax Funding Fails Supplemental Appropriation Will Be Needed

Dear Mayor:

Today in Trenton, the State Senate voted on a number of resolutions that would have restored categories of municipal property tax relief funding to the State’s spending plan for the current Fiscal Year. With the votes of two-thirds of the Senate (27 Senators voting “yes”) needed to advance the proposals to the Assembly, all resolutions failed.

SCR-217 would have redirected, from the State’s General Fund, about $49 million from Sales Taxes collected in and promised to New Jersey’s Urban Enterprise Zone municipalities for economic redevelopment. It failed on a vote of 24-13. We commend the sponsors, Senators Van Drew and Sacco, for their leadership on this effort.

SCR-218 would have restored the $50 million Municipal Public Safety Aid Program, which was meant to help municipalities with higher than average tax rates and/or lower than average property values, which have experienced an increase in crime rates. It failed on a vote of 24-13. We commend the sponsors, Senators Ruiz and Norcross, for their leadership on this effort.

SCR-219 would have restored $139 million in Transitional Aid, which is meant to help municipalities deal with extraordinary difficulties. The $149 million appropriation for this purpose, which was reduced to $10 million, was part of Governor Christie’s original budget proposal. These funds are only available to municipalities anticipating difficulties making payments toward nondiscretionary or critical obligations including, but not limited to, debt service, contractual obligations, and public safety payroll.  It failed on a vote of 24-13. We commend the sponsors, Senators Norcross and Stack, for their leadership on this effort.

The only hope for the restoration of any of this funding now would involve a supplemental appropriation. The prospect for that will depend on the willingness of the Governor and Legislative Leaders to work together.

Since the Governor’s line item vetoes have resulted in the State anticipating a $640 million surplus – the largest cushion in the past decade – we will again ask the Governor and Legislature to work together towards a supplemental appropriation to help some of the most fiscally stressed municipalities through these trying times.

If you have any questions, please contact Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121 or jmoran@njslom.com.

Very truly yours,

 

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

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