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April 25, 2008

Restore Property Tax Relief Funding Cuts

TODAY, THE STATE LEAGUE OF MUNICIPALITIES RENEWED ITS CALL FOR RESTORATION OF THE $189 MILLION BUDGET CUTS.  HERE IS THE TEXT OF THE LETTER WE SENT TO EVERY MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATURE.

“Following up on our letter of April 9, regarding state-established municipal property tax relief funding formulas, we write to urge you to make property tax relief the priority it needs to be.

I have to emphasize the continuing uncertainty and concern regarding the Governor’s proposed cuts. This uncertainty and these concerns afflict local elected officials, local property taxpayers and local government appointed officials and employees.

Until resolution of these matters, neither local elected officials, nor their fellow citizens can know what array and level of services local governments can deliver over the next twelve months, at what property tax rate. In other words, our property taxpayers cannot know what they’ll be paying, for what they’ll be getting, until State level policy makers agree on State policy.

As indicated in our April 9 letter, if the State consistently distributed municipal property tax relief funding in accordance with State statutory formulas, then these problems would not exist. Local elected officials are often told to conduct the public’s policy in a more businesslike manner. The current state of affairs makes that impossible.

When we wrote on April 9, we were hearing in the Press that Governor Corzine was reconsidering the size and shape of his proposed $189 million cuts. Since that time, the League of Municipalities has not been invited to any discussions of these changes, nor have we been advised on what we should tell our members. Accordingly, neither we nor they have any clearer idea of how to plan spending and taxing in the current year.

In this unprecedented state of uncertainty, we urge you to hold firm to one principle. Because we continue to see our anachronistic over-reliance on regressive property taxes as New Jersey’s public policy enemy #1, we have strongly opposed the Governor’s proposed cuts of $189 million in municipal property tax relief. Because of that, we urge you to join us in that opposition and to commit yourself to full restoration of the cuts.

We thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for the people of our Garden State. And we thank you for the many courtesies that you have extended to local officials and to the League. If we can be of any assistance on this, please have your staff contact me.”

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT BILL DRESSEL AT (609) 695-3481, EXT. 122, OR CELL NUMBER (609) 915-9072.

 

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