June 28, 2010
LEAGUE OF MUNICIPALITIES STATEMENT ON
2.9% CAP PROPOSALS.
NO NEED TO RUSH: CAP PROPOSAL CAN WAIT OTHER TOOLS NEEDED FIRST
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.
The New Jersey League of Municipalities has voted to support property tax levy cap reform, if and only if it is moved as the final piece, not the centerpiece, of vital property tax relief initiatives. Those other initiatives include binding arbitration reform, health benefits reform, mandates relief, flexibility to deal with pension costs, utility costs, disaster and emergency response costs and other costs imposed by factors beyond the control of local leaders, and conformity of any new local caps to a new State spending cap.
“These are the same reforms that we asked for during the Legislature’s 2006 Special Session for Property Tax Reform,” said League Executive Director Bill Dressel. “In fact, these are the reforms that the League has championed for decades. But instead of these essential cost control measures, all that Trenton ever offers is property tax relief funding cuts and tighter caps.”
Our property taxpayers deserve to see action on meaningful reforms. And they need to see it now. 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 new statutory proposal could be enacted, while all other meaningful reforms remain mired in the Legislature.
Accordingly, 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.
We are committed to working with the Legislature and the Administration toward levy cap reform, so long as key 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.
We have urged the Legislature to focus its attention toward cost control reforms and mandates relief initiatives, which must be put in place BEFORE any new spending limits are imposed on local budgets.
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For further information contact: William G. Dressel, Jr., Executive Director at (609)695-3481, extension 122 or 609-915-9072.