July 1, 2010
SPECIAL SESSION: CAPS, CUTS AND…..
TOOLS FOR CAPS AND CUTS?
League Executive Director Bill Dressel issued the following statement on this year’s Special Legislative Session.
“For 30 years, local governments have operated under spending caps. They operated under a levy cap for three years. Cuts in dedicated municipal property tax relief funding have been used to balance State budgets, year after year. For too long, Trenton’s approach to the State chronic over-reliance on property taxes has been caps and cuts, and cuts and caps. Local governments need more than cuts and caps.
“So, while the focus has been the ‘dueling’ cap proposals, the focus should be on the cost drivers which push our property taxes upward, and whether local governments will be provided the tools to combat rising costs. On Tuesday, the Governor correctly noted that a cap without the toolkit is ‘unworkable.’ All we ask is for the tools to make a cap, whatever the percentage may be, workable.
“The League of Municipalities can support a property tax levy cap, if and only if it is moved as the final piece, not the centerpiece, of vital property tax relief initiatives. Such initiatives include binding arbitration reform, COAH reform, health benefits reform, mandates relief, civil service reform, 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.
“We commend the Governor and the Legislature for continuing their work into July. Now we hope that local governments are provided a fully-stocked toolkit and our beleaguered taxpayers benefit for years to come.”
Contact: Bill Dressel, Executive Director at (609) 695-3481 ext. 122 or cell (609) 915-9072.