September 23, 2009
NEW JERSEY LEADS NATION IN PROPERTY TAXES ... AGAIN
In response to press accounts that the Tax Foundation has proclaimed New Jersey’s property tax burden to be the Nation’s worst, League of Municipalities’ Executive Director issues the following statement.
“This ranking only confirms what municipal officials and property tax payers have always suspected. It is sad, but not surprising. New Jersey municipalities have no reliable source of revenue besides the property tax. They are forced to fund a whole host of State mandated programs and services before they can even begin to consider local needs and priorities.
“According to the U.S. Census Bureau figures for 2001-2002, municipal own source general tax revenue in the U.S. totaled $120 billion. Of that, $58.3 billion (less than half of the total) was generated by the property tax.
“According to the same source for the same year, New Jersey municipal own source tax revenue equaled $2.9 billion, of which $2.8 billion was produced by property taxes.
“In just the past twelve months, we have had to deal with the impact of the current recession. As the foreclosure and unemployment rates rise, the tax collection rate falls. As the economy stalls, new construction slows with it. We cannot rely on new ratables. As the market and interest rates fall, the rate of return on our reserves falls with them. On top of these challenges, the State has cut municipal property tax relief funding by over $200 million (over a 10% cut), down from its FY 2008 budget.
“Our property taxpayers need to know that their elected officials at all levels of government are working together on helping them through this crisis. We have previously asked State leaders to consider providing property tax relief through mandates relief. We repeat that request and we are willing to consider any workable alternatives.”
* * * *
For further information contact: William G. Dressel, Jr., Executive Director at (609)695-3481, extension 122 or 609-915-9072.