The Enlighten Property Tax Reduction Plan
Acting Gov. (and Senate President) Richard Codey and Assembly Speaker Albio Sires both said Assemblyman Louis Manzo's plan to swap a property tax cut for an income tax increase was unworkable. Rather than explore it, they both settled back to dragging their feet on the politically safer notion of a property tax convention and "eliminating waste."
Yes, there's an edge in our voice. We think Manzo's plan is worth considering because, if nothing else, it actually admits things cost money. Of course, we understand why the Democrats want to quash this idea as quick as they can.
That said, we applaud Sen. Joseph Doria (D- Hudson) for sponsoring a senate version of the bill.
And shame on Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce (R-Morris) for responding to the proposal by saying Democrats are "pushing a $3.7 billion tax hike on hard-working families as their so-called solution to the property tax problem." That's a misstatement and he knows it.
It seems to us that Alex DeCroce has stated the obvious. How can his comment on the Manzo - Doria tax plan be considered a misstatement? Was the word “pushing” too strong?
How does swapping a property tax cut for an increase in income taxes solve the problem of government spending either too much money or not spending the money wisely? A bad deal is a bad deal no matter how taxpayers are asked to pick up the tab. New Jersey school spending is completely out of whack.
Newark located in Essex County spends $15,795 per public school student, while Millburn Township in Essex County spends $11,820 per student. Why does Newark spend $3,975 more?
Camden located in Camden County spends $15,091 per pupil and Cherry Hill Township, also in Camden County, spends $10,717 per student. Why does Camden spend $4,374 more?
Newark spends 33% more than Millburn and Camden spends 40% more than Cherry Hill. Newark pays 9% of its public school budget and Camden pays 3%. The state run School Construction Corp (SCC) spends 45 percent more on construction projects it manages than projects managed by local school boards.
Anyone notice a pattern here? The further away spending is from the taxpayer paying the bill, the more things cost. Now why would that be? Financial mismanagement, incompetence, waste, fraud, corruption, theft, a complete indifference as to how taxpayer money is spent – take your pick.
The last thing people paying the bills need is for the state to increase income taxes. This would only give the state more control over school funding and we can’t afford the 30-45% surcharge that comes with state control.
Last year New Jersey taxpayers shelled out $18.4 billion in property taxes. Manzo claims his tax plan would slash property taxes in half. Half of $18.4 billion is $9.2 billion, yet the Democrat’s plan calls for $3.7 billion in new income taxes in return for $5.1 billion in property tax cuts. Either Manzo can’t perform simple division and subtraction or only “special” taxpayers would have their property taxes “slashed” in half.
In order to cut property taxes, the state needs to distribute income tax revenue back to school districts in a more equitable manner. The state sends the “Abbott Schools” 30% to 45% more than necessary to achieve per pupil spending parity.
If Millburn schools in Essex County can provide a quality education for $11,820 per student, then so can Newark, Camden and every other Abbott School district. The savings between a parity funding level and the current funding level could be equally distributed on a per pupil basis to the remaining school districts to bring about property tax reductions.
Under the “Enlighten Plan” Newark, Camden and the other “Abbotts” would continue to spend no more on their schools than they did in 1991and would still be providing their children the most expensive education in the United States.
Problem solved! Next!