June 21, 2010
LEAGUE OF MUNICIPALITIES STATEMENT ON CHRISTIE AND SWEENEY CAP PROPOSALS:
IF NOT NOW, WHEN WILL MUNICIPALITIES AND TAXPAYERS SEE ACTION ON REFORMS
The Executive Board of the New Jersey League of Municipalities supports the Governor’s proposed 2.5% Constitutional Property Tax Cap (ACR-131/SCR-104), if and only if it is amended, and moved as the final piece, not the centerpiece, of vital property tax relief initiatives. On Friday, we made the Legislature’s leadership aware of this position. We are gratified by the fact that Senator Sweeney’s alternate cap proposal appears to address a few of the League’s concerns. But before ANY cap proposal advances, State policy makers need to advance management reforms and mandates relief initiatives that will allow municipalities to continue to deliver vital services and programs to their citizens and businesses.
“Our property taxpayers deserve to see action on meaningful reforms. And they need to see it now,” said League President, Mayor Jim Anzaldi of Clifton. “There is a danger that the Governor’s constitutional cap question could be advanced to the voters, prior to Legislative action on the other vital reforms. Likewise, the Senate President’s statutory proposal could be enacted, while all other meaningful reforms remain mired in the Legislature.”
“It is imperative for other toolkit and mandates reform bills to be on the Governor’s desk, before the Legislature votes to advance the proposed caps,” said the League’s First Vice President, Mayor Chuck Chiarello of Buena Vista Township.
“We note that in the proposed cap on some State spending (ACR-130/SCR-103), the State intends to allow itself much greater flexibility than it would allow local officials,” said Mayor Anzaldi. “The Cap should affect all levels of government equally. The State’s ability to exceed the cap by a 2/3 vote of both Houses should be mirrored by a 2/3 vote requirement of the municipal body at the local level.”
“We are committed to working with the Legislature and the Administration toward levy cap reform,” said Mayor Chiarello, “so long as certain considerations are satisfactorily addressed. These would include statutory reforms relating to binding arbitration, civil service, public employee pensions and benefits, disciplinary procedures, school and special district elections and mandates relief. These must be enacted BEFORE the voters are asked to approve the Constitutional Caps or the Legislature advances new statutory caps.”
“In the interest of fairness and out of respect for the efforts of local officials struggling to do what is best for their municipalities and to serve their fellow citizens to the best of their abilities,” said League Executive Director Bill Dressel, “the proposed cap must be the final piece, not the centerpiece of this year’s property tax relief effort.”
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For further information contact: William G. Dressel, Jr., Executive Director at (609)695-3481, extension 122 or 609-915-9072.