Is it possible to lower NJ’s property taxes?
New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the nation, and it seems no matter what anybody does or says, they continue to rise.
One Garden State lawmaker is convinced he's come up with a solution to finally address the problem in a meaningful way.
Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald is planning to hold a series of property tax summit meetings, beginning next month, with a wide range of local leaders.
"The summit will be designed to create economic stimulus," he said. "New Jersey is one of the nine most expensive states in the nation -- which is tied to property taxes, and it's a problem that affects businesses as well as individual citizens. Our goal is to bring together business, civic and community leaders and utilize their resources, experience and expertise to look at how to lower the property tax."
He said the property tax problem has created a serious ripple effect throughout the state, and not just for middle class homeowners.
"We see senior citizens struggling to maintain their homes," Greenwald said. "We see young people not able to afford a home at some of the record lowest interest rates of our lifetime."
Greenwald said he expects these summits to produce real results, because "I've been here 20 years and I've never seen anything like this that we're offering to put together. We're asking people from all different cross-sections of the community to participate in this; there are no sacred cows in this."
He added when this process is over, "I think we will know we have this right if the participants walk away and say, 'These were really incredibly difficult decisions, I don't know that I love any of this, but I think this is gonna work.'"
There has not been a lot of courage or a lack of political will to tackle some of these issues, because the outcomes are painful. But if you have all of these interest groups at the table and they agree on a solution, it should give confidence to the people that are going to have to pass these packages that come out, that there's support from the public behind them, there's support from industry behind them, and that there is a true understanding that it is going to work," Greenwald said.