July 8, 2010
PROPERTY TAX REFORM: AN UNFINISHED AGENDA
Today, the State Senate accepted and approved the Governor’s conditional veto of S-29, amending the tax levy cap from 4% to 2%. It is expected in the upcoming days the Assembly will also approve the amended bill.
League Executive Director Bill Dressel issued the following statement on this year’s Special Legislative Session.
“Caps do not address the real cost drivers confronted by local leaders. So when the Governor called the cap ‘unworkable’ without the toolkit, he was correct. But the Administration has pushed forth an “unworkable” cap, with the Legislature’s support, without first advancing the toolkit. Local leaders, defending the interests of taxpayers, are now told that the real reform will come in the fall.
“We see no reason why we should wait any longer. For years local leaders have called for reform, including 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.
“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 reform. While we appreciate and applaud that the Governor and the Legislature have promised reform, until such reforms are passed, no one should declare a cap a victory for property tax reform. Otherwise, like Yogi Berra said ‘It's like deja-vu, all over again’ and we will have an unworkable cap with no management reforms.
“The tax reform agenda remains undone.”
For further information contact: William G. Dressel, Jr., Executive Director at (609)695-3481, extension 122 or 609-915-9072.