Chris Christie Wants Action On Property Tax Bills [AUDIO]
One measure would force mayors who are charging so called, 'user fees' for things like garbage pick-up and emergency response services to count those charges against the 2% cap on property tax increases. Another bill would force towns to share services if it's determined they would save taxpayers money by doing so. Municipalities that don't share risk losing state aid. Governor Chris Christie wants both bills passed this fall.
"We cannot have gone through the exercise of passing a 2% cap and then allow mayors to run around the cap," says Christie. "It's inappropriate, raises taxes on the people of this state and it's something that we've got to fix."
The Governor says, "Plugging the holes in the property tax cap is important to be done. It's one of those things we ran out of bandwidth on here near the end of June to get done, but it's something we've got to get done this fall…..I hope that we get the legislature's attention when they come back this fall to be able to deal with that and deal with shared services. Both things are important."
State Senate President Steve Sweeney sponsors both bills. Under Sweeney's legislation, services shifted from a property tax base to a "user fee" base would continue to be counted as part of the current 2 percent property tax cap for municipalities. He explains, "We're not saying you can't do a fee, but it's going to count against the 2% cap." That means towns that implement the fees would have to cut elsewhere to stay beneath the limit.
Sweeney's shared services measure would require New Jersey's Local Unit Alignment, Reorganization, and Consolidation Commission (LUARCC) to study local government units (county government, municipal government, school districts) to determine where taxpayer dollars could be saved through sharing of services.
If the study shows that a savings can be realized through sharing that service in one or more local governments, the question of whether to do so or not would be put to a public referendum in all municipalities involved. If the towns involved fail to pass the proposal, they would be subject to losing state aid in the amount equal to what they would have saved had they shared the service. If one town approves it but another denies it, only the town that denied it would lose aid.