Is NJ’s 2% Property Tax Cap Working? [POLL/AUDIO]
Governor Chris Christie insists New Jersey 2% cap on property tax increases is working. Critics say Christie is misleading the public. One lawmaker is pushing legislation that would establish a task force to study the issue.
"Under Governor (Jon) Corzine we set a 4% cap and then we adjusted it down to 2% under Governor Christie, but property taxes are still too high. I mean Stevie Wonder could see that so it's time now to assemble another body of information," explains Assemblyman John Burzichelli. "These kinds of issues require academic review from time to time. We all know property taxes are still too high."
Under Burzichelli's bill a "Property Tax Levy Cap Task Force" would be created to monitor the impact of changes to the levy cap law.
This temporary body, in but not of the Department of Community Affairs, would engage in a three-year study of the effect of the new levy cap on municipal finances, the property tax burden, the structure and functions of county and municipal government, including all local taxing districts, the fiscal relationship between local governments, the allocation of service delivery responsibilities, and labor agreements reached between local units and collective bargaining entities. The task force must issue its final report to the Governor and the Legislature by November 1, 2013.
Burzichelli says, "One thing people in New Jersey want is reform, but they just aren't sure they really want change so, if you're going to make the case for real change you've got to have good information about what the alternative is."
Applying the State sales tax to more items, taxing New Jersey's wealthiest residents at a higher rate and revised the way the state funds education are likely to be three alternatives offered predicts Burzichelli.
Under the legislation, the task force may make use of existing studies, surveys, data and other materials in the possession of any State agency or authority and such materials in the possession of any county, municipality, or political subdivision of the State.
"As the easy discussion about property taxes being too high goes on," says Burzichelli. "We've got to underpin it with alternatives and careful review of how this cap is working."