"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Sunday, January 23, 2005

N.J. Property Tax Revolt

A revolt against high property taxes in New Jersey is gaining momentum. Excerpts from the Star-Ledger below, the entire article here. For our suggestions scroll beyond the block quote.

Property taxes in New Jersey continued their relentless climb last year, with average tax bills rising 6.2 percent, according to a Star-Ledger analysis. The average tax bill of $5,517 is now 33 percent higher than five years ago.

The state treasurer says an analysis of property tax levies shows increases should be blamed on towns and schools, not a lack of state aid. No matter who is to blame, some people have had enough.

In Morris County, high property taxes have caught up with senior citizens who bought homes more than 40 years ago before a population boom. They created a tax reform group called the Silver Brigade. Ruth Harris of Denville, the group's former president, said, "We found ourselves talking to younger people, and they are having just as much trouble as we are."

"We want schools to be good but funding them through property taxes is ridiculous," she said. "Many seniors bought homes here years ago before government became expensive. We are finding they are moving to South Jersey, the South, and Pennsylvania (and) their children cannot afford to live here."

So what’s the solution to the property tax problem, a constitutional convention that calls for a shift from property taxes to higher income or sales taxes? Does a shift from one tax to another really address the problem? Does "The Plan 4 NJ" that shifts property taxes from person to another solve anything? The citizens of New Jersey have been down the tax shifing path before and it has never brought a long term solution.

Taxes are too high and will continue to soar because too much money is being spent by government at all levels – state, county, city and town. We need real reform and legislation that limits government spending without loopholes. Perhaps a constitutional amendment will be required to ensure spending limits can not be overturned by the courts. But we need real reform, not tax shifting and bureaucratic rebates that waste money to return pennies on the dollar.

We have a few suggestions for reducing government spending:
  • Cap spending growth to the inflation rate plus population growth
  • Eliminate the transfer of income from one group or person to another
  • Eliminate all spending on non-essential services in any year in which the proposed budget would be greater than estimated tax revenues to acheive a balance budget

Additional suggestions for property tax reform:

  • Eliminate school funding from property taxes
  • Create a separate school tax - similar to the sewer tax
  • A minimum tax to be levied on each property with the balance to be based upon the number of children living on the property and enrolled in the school system. (Similar to the sewer tax with its minimum rate and the balance based upon water usage by the residence.)


At 7:45 PM, Blogger Glass House said...

Great thinking! I'm very worried that with property taxes increasing as fast as they are, I'm going to have to move. But to where?!? I believe your recommendations are fantastic. How can we pose these to our law makers and actually realize some tax reform?

At 7:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here, Here!!! I too agree with your recommendations. Maybe we should expand the Silver Brigade beyond Morris County.

At 8:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im in full agreement with what was written. I feel State, County, Borough's are not in touch with the real world. There spending on salaries, benefits and Pensions, aspecially police are outragious. Why do federal social security require us to work to 67 for full benefit retirement and than benefits are less than adaquit. Police can retire after 25 years from hire at 60% of the GROSS INCOME including overtime and collect for life from as early an age as 45.

At 10:14 PM, Blogger Enlighten said...

We don't mind the police and fire fighters receiving pensions and benefits over and above the private sector norm – they put their lives on the line for the public. It’s the other “public servants”, the majority of public employees that are bleeding us dry. Their benefits and pensions should be reformed to reflect the real world in which taxpayers live.

At 9:10 PM, Blogger Joey said...

Great Ideas... what can we do, "We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond to them."

At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there a lower NJ property tax campaign or a sticker campaign that we can join into ?

Are there chapters that support such campaigns?

At 7:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 9:21 AM, Blogger W.Andryca said...

The first and foremost solution to the Property Tax Extravaganza that New Jersey has laid claim to for several years, is to reduce the number of school districts. It is sheer insanity that we have 616 school districts with only 566 municipalities. It is even more unbelievable considering there are only 21 counties in the State. The hundreds of millions of dollars(billion?) in redundant administrative costs, that could be trimmed from school tax portion of our bills, might put us in a better position to maintain our citizenry rather then seeing the flight continue to neighboring,more citizen friendly states.

At 2:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

School districts should be required by law to advertise the difference between the "bare bones" budget mandated by the state and the actual budget they are asking for. In my town, this difference was $14 million for all sorts of programs and extra that PARENTS should be paying for, not the taxpayers. I don't mind paying to teach kids reading, writing, and arithmetic, but I sure as hell DO mind teaching them Japanese, videography, and music production.

At 10:17 AM, Blogger taxed to daeth said...

how about this- if you do not have kids in school you should not be shouldering the school tax burden

At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enough is Enough!!It is time to stop paying the way for the ones that don't work, Have children out of wedlock and have it all payed for on our hard earned backs, Stop this corruption in the administrations bleeding us dry.How can we sleep as all the dead beats are scamming our system living large as we work for there free ride.We all worked hard to buy our homes ,Why should any one get by on us .You express your self with your own style in your home and the tax appraiser comes in and robs you blind for improving your life in your oun home.THIS HAS TO STOP AND ONLY US! as property owners have the power to do it !Not the politicians! REMEMBER THEY ARE ELECTED TO WORK FOR US .NOT ROB US!!!!Stop saying "What are you gonna do" AND GET UP AND GET TOGETHER AND FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT.Together as property owners We have rights TOO.to live and do what we want with our own property and not be Beat down into remission and continue Killing the economy by helping the ones that don't want to help them self and improve society as a whole Including the town workers as well.

At 7:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

talk about tas we have a new home in the same block witch only pays taxes on 88000 dollars were my home is 70 years old i pay on 212000 something wrong

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