May 18, 2011
Use Unanticipated Revenue to Restore Municipal Property Tax Relief
In response to the announcement that hundreds of millions of previously unanticipated dollars are now available to address priority needs, League of Municipalities’ President, Mayor Chuck Chiarello of Buena Vista Township, issued the following statement
“With between 565 million and 913 million new dollars available, we urge State policy makers to consider last year’s massive cuts in dedicated municipal property tax relief funding and to restore $275 million to our property taxpayers through the Energy Tax, CMPTRA and Open Space funding.
“Every year, the State collects revenues that are supposed to come back to our municipalities. These provide local budgets with dollars that don’t have to be raised through property taxes. Whenever the State decides not to deliver this funding for property tax relief, local officials find it more and more difficult to keep property taxes down.
“When presenting our testimony on the Governor’s original budget proposal we expressed to the Legislature our support for level municipal revenue replacement funding. At that time, we urged the Legislature to use that proposal as a baseline. Now that we know that actual State revenue receipts exceed anticipations, the State should increase the distribution to Energy Tax and CMPTRA funding, as required by the statutes.
“That is our priority for this year’s State Budget. It will allow local officials to better meet the needs of their fellow citizens, within the 2% levy cap, despite the lack of many ‘toolkit’ reforms. It will allow local officials to make some badly needed investments in our infrastructure, thereby creating good private sector jobs, while enhancing our State’s economic competitiveness. And it will assure local officials that they remain valued partners in the public’s service.
“For the longer term, the State must end its reliance on local revenues to balance its budget. Revenues meant to be used for property tax relief must begin to be restored and we need a State commitment to that. We will work with the Administration and the Legislature on a plan to wean the State off of its dependence on municipal money, and to rededicate the dollars to municipal property tax relief.”
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For further information contact: William G. Dressel, Jr., Executive Director at (609)695-3481, extension 122 or 609-915-9072.