Can local governments hold down the costs of public services?

Yes. And they are doing so. No municipal official wants to raise taxes. In addition to their commitment to their constituents, they are also motivated by an enlightened self-interest (They pay property taxes, too.) and by a desire to remain in the public’s service beyond the next election. Local budgets are subject to intense public scrutiny. Inflation alone forces municipalities to spend more, just to maintain current service levels. But aside from inflation, local expenditures are driven by demographics. Public school enrollments are on the rise. And service demands related to the aging of the “baby boom” generation will also increase on into the future.

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1. Why is talking about tax relief important?
2. How is the responsibility for taxing and spending divided between the State and local governments in New Jersey?
3. Why do New Jersey local governments need funding from the State?
4. Why do you call it “municipal property tax relief” and not “State aid”?
5. What about user fees?
6. That leaves property taxes and property tax relief funding from the State. What is the deal with State funding?
7. How does New Jersey’s property tax burden compare with other States?
8. Can cutting local budgets reduce property taxes?
9. Can local governments hold down the costs of public services?
10. How can the State provide needed relief to local governments and, more importantly, to property taxpayers?