JUNE 21, 2012
MUNICIPAL PROPERTY TAX RELIEF FUNDING BILLS ADVANCE
Mayors Support A-2921/S-1900
Today in Trenton, Mayors Antonia “Toni” Ricigliano of Edison, Colleen Mahr of Fanwood, Vincent Barrella of Point Pleasant Beach and David Fried of Robbinsville spoke before the Assembly and Senate Budget Committees, in favor of companion bills designed to restore vital funding to local budgets.
S-1900 and A-2921 would phase-in, over five years, the restoration of $331 million in municipal property tax relief funding. First year funding would be about $66 million. The bills ensure that each municipality in the State will be restored to the 2007 (SFY 2008) Energy Tax Receipts and Consolidated Municipal Property Tax Relief Aid level, over 5 years. And the poison pill will protect that level of funding for each municipality, while continuing to require aggregate Energy Tax Receipts inflation adjustments.
Mayor Ricigliano, who also serves as Vice Chairperson of the League’s Energy Receipts Restoration Task Force, said “We salute Assemblyman Singleton and Senator Sarlo for their leadership. They and their cosponsors have heard what New Jersey Mayors have been saying, and they have responded. The bill recognizes that municipalities have long been denied revenues that they were promised, and to which they are entitled.”
Quoting another commentator on this issue, Mayor Ricigliano agreed, “If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it is that when a government gets its hands on our money, it spends it. We should cut out the middle man ...” In this case, continued the Mayor, “The State is now the middle man.”
Noting the impact of recent funding cuts on the citizens of Fanwood, Mayor Mahr, who Chairs the Legislative Committee of the New Jersey Conference of Mayors, observed, “The restoration of Energy Tax Receipts Property Tax Relief/CMPTRA funding to local budgets is of paramount importance to municipal officials and to the taxpayers we serve. The diversion of our municipal resources to cover State spending needs to end. Local elected officials are in the best position to decide the best use for these resources.”
Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Vince Barrella advised the Committees, “To those here today who may believe that this is a partisan issue, respectfully, you are mistaken. Of the four Mayors from Ocean County who are part of the League's Energy Receipts Task Force, all four are registered Republicans, … For those who think that this is a small municipality v. large municipality issue, you are also mistaken. Mayors of our smallest and our largest municipalities understand that A-2921/S-1900 seeks to restore some fundamental equity as we move forward together.”
Robbinsville Mayor David Fried reminded Legislators that municipalities are entitled to the Energy Receipts in lieu of property taxes on these lines and facilities. “These funds are not ‘aid.’ They are payments our towns receive because we aren’t allowed to charge the utilities property taxes. The state’s position as collector and distributor of this money was designed for efficiency and fairness. It wasn’t designed to fund State programs and services.”
Mayors all around the State thank the sponsors and support S-1900 and A-2921. The bills are scheduled to be voted on in the Senate and Assembly on Monday.
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For further information contact: William G. Dressel, Jr., Executive Director at (609) 695-3481, extension 122 or 609-915-9072.