"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Trenton’s Latest Property Tax Relief Plan

New Jersey residents pay about $20 billion a year in property taxes and will also pay an estimated $11.6 billion, this year, in state income taxes. This means the total cost of local government is actually in excess of $32 billion.

Income tax revenue, by law, may only be used for property tax relief and is used to offset a community’s public school costs. Municipal aid, derived from other state taxes, is granted to further reduce property taxes. Without these two forms of state aid, total property taxes in New Jersey would be well over $32 billion.

These two major forms of property tax relief are currently reducing the average New Jersey resident’s property tax bill by 37 percent. Of course that’s an average. Some residents receive a property tax relief benefit as low as 3 percent and some 100 percent.

Word on the latest property tax relief plan from Trenton is beginning to emerge - Legislative leaders predict 20% property tax reduction:

Senate President Richard Codey and Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts today said most homeowners can expect a 20 percent average property tax cut as a result of a property tax special session.

In a joint statement, the leaders said the relief will come as a tax credit on most property tax bills. Last year, the statewide average bill was nearly $6,000. Taxpayers paying that much would receive a $1,200 credit if they qualify for the full credit.

The relief will be based on a sliding scale, based on income, according to sources close to negotiations that are underway to hammer out the final details.

“Structural reforms are necessary, but immediate relief is essential,” said Roberts. “The finish line is in sight and we can make projections of the immediate property tax relief most homeowners will experience. An average 20 percent property tax credit for the majority of New Jersey households is achievable.”

Note the qualifiers – credit; 20 percent average; most homeowners; sliding scale, based on income; if they qualify; and hammer out the final details.

This may be jumping to conclusions, but this new property tax relief plan sounds an awful lot like the old property tax rebate plan – the difference being a credit on the bill instead of check in the mail.

If Democrats really want to make their plan sound good, they could show three lines of property tax credit on each tax bill – the first line indicating school tax relief, the second showing municipal tax relief and the new, third type, can be labeled county tax relief.

Ta-da! An average of 37 percent property tax relief for everyone without spending an extra penny.

Update: We see our suspicions were correct - Most homeowners would get credit on bill as rebates are eliminated.

The legislative leaders said while the average tax bill would be reduced by 20 percent, most of the tax relief would be targeted to lower- and middle- income homeowners. Those in the upper brackets would get smaller reductions, or nothing at all.

Assemblyman Rick Merkt (R-Morris), a member of one of the four special committees that have met since July to devise a comprehensive plan to reduce property taxes. "They did not bite the bullet and make the tough decisions needed to enact real property tax reform."

"Eliminate one program to initiate another -- that's heroic," he said. "I think this is obviously more of a smoke-and-mirrors program."

Codey dared Republicans to oppose a 20 percent reduction with all 120 seats in the Legislature up for election next year.
Republicans should offer a plan for real property tax reform that actually reduces property taxes. If Democrats refuse to bring the Republican plan to the Assembly floor for consideration, let Democrats explain it to the voters next year. The time for Republicans to begin this fight is now.


At 10:35 AM, Blogger The Pot said...

Can someone please tell me how this is property tax "reform"? This is going to be just another example of robbing Peter to pay Paul. Except its more likely going to be robbing me to pay me (although for the last several years I've been ineligible for any rebates because according to the Democrats I make too much money).

The only way to "reform" the property tax system is to get those governmental entities -- schools and municipalities -- to look at their spending and to control it.

At 10:37 AM, Blogger The Pot said...

Oh, and one other thing . . . people living in towns which get very little municipal or school aid from the state now (because they are "affluent") will be the towns where residents get well below the 20% "average" credit dreamed up by the Trenton Democrats. And, of course, if you live in a Republican legislative district, be prepared to be punished.

At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Bob said...

Tell me please how municipalities are going to run with fewer dollars available. The state, it sounds like, is going to reduce municipal aid, which is going to force municipalities to raise local taxes.

Without cutting spending, property taxes will continue to rise. But we all know that already.

At 11:31 AM, Blogger Ken Adams said...

There you go, Bob, trying to apply simple mathematics to a political problem again. When are you going to learn that all money belongs to the government?

At 4:41 PM, Blogger Dino P. Crocetti said...

Ugggh, here we go again!!

At 6:50 PM, Anonymous Jim - PRS said...

Bottom Line: If you and/or your spouse broke your ass in school and now break your ass soing your jobs so you could make a nice living, you will get zilch in terms of property tax relief.

Same shit, different day.

At 7:32 PM, Blogger KingDrudge said...

Anybody here looking to rent a UHAUL truck?

At 7:37 PM, Blogger KingDrudge said...

Ive said it before and I will say it again:


If you dont realize that with Big Boss Bob becoming our senator then you never will.Get out while you still can. I know it hurts for all of us lifelong NJ residents but its time to throw in the towel and go for greener pasture.

At 9:12 PM, Blogger Mr. Apropos said...

Ha ha, it was funny because before the update you thought the clowns in Trenton might do something than spend more of my money.

I'm actually willing to be that, some how, the state will be able to take more out of my pocket then before the 'reform'.

I hate NJ.

At 7:00 AM, Anonymous Shooter1001 said...

The people of NJ have to be the stupidest bastards in the world, including California!
We keep voting for Democrats! Look what we have for a governor. Look what we have for senators. Did anybody really believe Corzine was going to do anything but raise taxes.
Torricelli should not have dropped out; he would have won despite his problems. Which is worse, him or the corpse we have in Lautenburg?
If you're a decent person with a decent income and job, its time to leave and head South! If the blacks, latinos, Indians and moslems want NJ, let 'em have it. What are they going to do when there's nobody left to tax.

At 8:15 AM, Anonymous njcons said...

This is just another program designed to transfer wealth to the fine towns of Newark, Camden and Trenton.

Perhaps western NJ, should start a serious effort to create a new state.

At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

See today's Newark Star Ledger. Here comes the "Costello" school districts that I previously referred to.

At 9:07 AM, Blogger KingDrudge said...

Hey shooter, Im black but bet want to get the hell out of this state. I know its hard being a Republican in this state, its even harder being a black Republican who is sick and tired of the welfare queens and kings in JC, NWK, and CMDN taking all my damn money. The $320,000 you spend for average home here in Bergen Cnty, you can ge a McMansion for that down south.

At 9:09 AM, Blogger KingDrudge said...

LOLOL, Shooter you are so right about the corpse for a senator named Lautenburg. Anybody seens his old ass as of late. I'm willing to bet that he will get re-elected in 2008, and yet I cant name a damn thing the guy has done in six years.

At 10:48 PM, Blogger JoanBasil said...

My local High School (Hunterdon Central) is $16,000 per pupil per year. Where does that money go? The schools are the big bottomless pit.

At 7:30 AM, Blogger Dino P. Crocetti said...

Democrats have the deck stacked in their favor and there really isn't any proof of that changing anytime soon.

I agree that Lautenberg will win in '08. He'll probably end up winning by a 3 to 1 margin with the Republican winning Hunterdon County by a landslide once again since that's the only place Republicans seem to want to spend any money in statewide races nowadays.

Jersey City was on the brink of oblivion before people woke up and elected Bret Schundler Mayor in 1993 and this will probably end up being the case for the entire state as well.

It's a shame that we're so hardheaded in this state.

At 7:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

very good comment about Lautenberg - I don't normally go in for namecalling, but that is indeed an apt description....so we face a truly tough choice to either vote with our feet and leave or continue trying to change our state legislature.....boy, choosing to leave is so much easier after fighting for 30 years...I think I'll fight

At 9:45 PM, Blogger b4freedom said...

I seriously hope that the Feds investigate all of the politicians and bust all of them. They are all crooks.

Everyone elected does two things: Find new ways to spend money. Find friends public jobs or get friends contracts.

If the state wants to cut local property taxes it has to do this as a start:

1)Stop finding new ways to spend money. How many new projects, funds, organizations, entities have been created over the past year?
2)Start small and slowly take over services provided by local governments. Easy example: marriage licenses. Why can't thousands of local secretaries doing manual paperwork be replaced with one centralized web form managed by the company that won via the lowest bid?
3)Control management. Most management in NJ state and local governments are cushy overpaid jobs that have absolutely no accountability and are stock full of politically appointed under qualified idiots. If you watch The Office, you'll know exactly what most state managers are like.

At 8:07 AM, Anonymous Samuel said...

Pretty effective piece of writing, thanks for the post.
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