July 12, 2010
RE: Assembly Approves 2% Cap
Today in Trenton, the General Assembly approved S-29, (available at http://www.njslom.org/2011FY-Budget/toolbox-news.html), amending the tax levy cap from 4% to 2%. For our analysis of the Governor’s conditional veto which is the basis for S-29, see our letter of July 6 (http://www.njslom.org/letters/ml070610-cap.html).
The final vote was 73-4 and the bill now heads to the Governor, who has indicated that he will sign the bill tomorrow.
The four Assembly representatives who voted no to the bill were: Assemblyman John Diegnan (D-South Planfield), Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman (D-Ewing), Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Elizabeth) and Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville).
In response, the League issued a press statement, which read, in part:
“Caps do not address the real cost drivers confronted by local leaders. A hard 2.0 cap is, as the Governor said ‘unworkable,’ without the toolkit. No one can declare the cap a victory for reform until the toolkit reforms are passed. Now that the proverbial cart has been placed before the horse, the Legislature and Administration must immediately prioritize and pass the toolkit reforms.
For years local leaders have called for reform, including binding arbitration reform, COAH reform, health benefits reform, mandates relief, civil service reform, revenue replacement funding compliance, flexibility to deal with pension costs, utility costs, disaster and emergency response costs and other costs imposed by factors beyond the control of local leaders, and conformity of any new local caps to a new State spending cap.
“The League of Municipalities can support a property tax levy cap, if and only if it is moved as the final piece, not the centerpiece of reform.
“True tax reform is not yet done.”
As we indicated in our July 8 Dear Mayor letter, we have been in contact with Senator Paul Sarlo, Chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and Mayor of Wood-Ridge, who will be convening meetings soon to deal with unfunded mandates and management reforms that will help Mayors control costs.
The League will, of course, take the lead in the efforts to bring the necessary toolkit reforms to reality. We ask for your assistance by considering the draft resolution the League has prepared the draft resolution and linked it to the “Tool Box” page on our website located at: http://www.njslom.org/2011FY-Budget/toolbox-news.html. Our goal is for all 566 municipalities to pass a resolution consistent with our draft.
For more updates, keep checking “Governor Christie’s Toolbox News” at http://www.njslom.org/2011FY-Budget/toolbox-news.html.
If you have any questions on this letter or any of the bills in the toolkit package, contact Jon Moran at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-695-3481, ext. 121, Mike Cerra at email@example.com or 609-695-3481 x120 or Lori Buckelew at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-695-3481 x112.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr. Hon. James Anzaldi
Executive Director Mayor, Clifton City and