Due to a lack of action on the proposed 2.5 percent Constitutional property tax levy cap, in late June Governor Christie called the Legislature into a “Special Session.” When the Session convened on July 1, the Governor stated his intent to have the Legislature continue to meet until property tax solutions are in place. He included among those solutions the 33 initiatives of his “toolkit.”
This is the third major attempt at property tax reform in the last decade. We continue to hope that it will prove more successful than the
In 2004, Governor McGreevey’s “FAIR” (Fair And Immediate Relief) plan included relief for our hardest hit taxpayers; stricter spending caps;
and a plan to advance towards a Citizens’ Convention for Property Tax Reform. Today, all that remains of that plan is the caps. In 2006, Governor Corzine’s Special Session for Property Tax Reform produced property tax credits that have vanished, and property tax levy caps that have been tightened.
Thus far, all we have to show for the current special session is caps. Not 2.5 percent levy caps. Not 2.9 percent levy caps. Now, we have 2 percent levy caps.
Caps, no matter how hard or how tight, do not reduce property taxes. And that is what our
citizens want. Caps only slow the growth rate of the current burden.
Our property taxpayers deserve real and lasting property tax relief. And as long as the Legislature continues to work on the Governor’s toolkit and mandates relief initiatives, there is hope.
The Legislative Update column in this month’s edition takes a look at the Special Session’s toolkit meetings and other developments on management reforms and mandates relief. And at our Conference next month in Atlantic City, we have scheduled our own special session on toolkit reforms. I look forward to seeing you there, and hope we will have positive progress to report.
Editorial from New Jersey
Municipalities, Volume 87, Number 7, June 2010