Another Property Tax Relief Shell Game
Today, it has some heavyweight backers, including Gov. Jon Corzine, Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts (who actually got the Assembly to approve it last session), the League of Municipalities, the League of Women Voters, the AARP, the Black Ministers Council and environmental groups.To buy into this solution you have to believe property taxpayers and state taxpayers are nearly mutually exclusive groups, which of course they’re not. And you also have to believe you’d be happier if your total tax bill remained the same, just as long as your property tax bill was temporarily less.
The convention's plan would have to be revenue-neutral, neither raising nor lowering the total tax take. It simply would redistribute the burden so that property owners wouldn't bear such a disproportionate share. Once completed, the plan would go to the voters for a yes or no verdict.
The fact Democrats are concerned that people will catch on to their latest tax hiking scheme should be a major tip-off that a constitutional convention is bad news for taxpayers. That's why lawmakers want to hold this plan until an off-election year.
Next year is an election year, with all 120 legislative seats on the line. If candidates were required to share the ballot with a comprehensive, controversial, convention-produced reform proposal -- which doubtless would include higher state taxes to offset local property taxes -- they would be compelled to take a position on it.On the other hand the state’s legislature could actually do their job instead of passing their responsibilities off to another group – wasting even more time and tax dollars in the process. State government gave New Jerseyans the state income tax for the sole purpose of reducing property taxes. Before Democrats concoct any “new solutions” they should fix their “old solution” for the property tax crisis in New Jersey. They can begin with these issues:
New Jersey spends 57 percent more per public student than the national average.
New Jersey’s 31 Abbott* school districts spend 30 percent more per student as compared to the rest of state. Average per-pupil spending in New Jersey school districts is $11,056. Abbott districts average $14,287.
The 31 Abbott* school districts will receive over 56% of property tax relief (state aid) for public schools in 2007 and yet make up only 25 percent of New Jersey’s public school enrollment.
The 31 Abbott* municipalities receive the bulk of all state municipal aid which also reduces local property taxes.
Don’t let New Jersey politicians trick you with yet another shell game that raises state taxes to hopefully reduce your property taxes. It hasn’t worked yet and it never will. The only solution to New Jersey’s property tax crisis is through cost containment and an equitable distribution of state property tax relief funds from existing tax rates and revenue sources.
* Thirty-one of the state’s 566 municipalities are designated as “Abbott” for the purposes of “property tax relief” related to education aid and “needy” for the purposes of “property tax relief” related to all other municipal aid.