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FROM 222 WEST STATE STREET
Bill Dressel, League Executive Director

 

LET'S HOLD THEM
ACCOUNTABLE

Bill Dressel

 

On the 16th of this month, you’ll want to be in Trenton for our Annual Mayors’ Legislative Day. This is one of the inter-governmental relations highlights of any year. But as we are facing the new 2 percent property tax levy cap, this year’s event takes on greater significance. Any insights that we can get on the state’s next budget and the priorities of the legislative leadership will be extremely important.

  The Mayors’ Legislative Day is a unique opportunity for local leaders to interact with individuals who are responsible for setting the agenda for property tax relief, affordable housing, and consolidation/ sharing of services.  It is also a great way to hear, first hand, about the state’s legislative agenda from the Governor, Administration officials, and key members of the Senate and Assembly at the start of the New Year.  Following the panel discussion, local leaders will have an opportunity to question state leaders about issues that directly impact their municipalities.

Among those questions, the matter of the state’s habitual diversion of dedicated municipal property tax relief and revenue replacement funding might be brought up. Veteran municipal officials know that every year, state budget-makers, from both the Executive and Legislative branches of government, play games with funding that should, according to state laws, go to municipalities for property tax relief. Annually, your colleagues in Trenton divert property tax relief funds to other priorities.

The enactment of current State Budget, last June, marks the seventh fiscal year in a row that locally dedicated funds have been diverted.

Let’s hope the folks in Trenton recognize that there just might be a connection between property tax relief funding and property tax relief. The tools that they give you won’t help, if your hands are tied by another year of under-funding. Let’s hold them accountable on our Legislative Day!

 

Editorial from New Jersey Municipalities, Volume 88, Number 2, February 2011

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