Thursday, June 19, 2008
MUNICIPALITIES REACT TO BUDGET AGREEMENT
The adjustments to the proposed budget included in the appropriations bills, to be considered in committee today, demonstrate the realization that the original proposal to slash municipal property tax relief funding by $189 million was unwise, unfair and unreasonable. We, therefore, salute the Governor and Legislative leadership for agreeing to lighten the impact of these cuts on local property taxpayers all around the State. Still, based on our analysis of the proposed changes, local policy makers all around the State will need to account for the loss of about $154 million in municipal property tax relief funding. And, inevitably, so will our property taxpayers.
Against the backdrop of the slumping national economy, many of them are already buckling under the burden of rising costs and flattening incomes. And all of them are already paying property taxes high above the national average. Two years ago, the Legislature dedicated one-half of the increased Sales Tax to property tax relief. Last year again, State policy makers recognized and acted on New Jersey’s chronic need for property tax relief by, among other things, increasing CMPTRA funding by two-percent. But this budget represents a retreat.
We sincerely hope that this year’s budget will mark a turning point and that we can again return next year to an emphasis on meaningful and sustainable property tax relief.
* * * *
For further information contact: William G. Dressel, Jr., Executive Director at (609)695-3481, extension 122.