We all complain about the highest-in-the-nation property taxes in the state, and perhaps, just perhaps, the Governor has given us reason to feel better about the direction the state is going.

Or has he?

On average last year, property tax bills have climbed an average of 1.7 percent – which compares favorably to 2011, when the average property tax bill went up 2.4 percent – and even more favorably to the period 2004 through 2006 when tax bills went up on average at least 7 percent each year.

However, you’re thinking, “…they’re still going in the wrong direction! Aren’t they supposed to be going down?”

And that’s precisely the point.

Do you view the news that the average property tax bill has risen in the last year by only 1.7 percent a good thing?

Gov. Chris Christie will announce that the average property tax increase in New Jersey last year was a relatively modest 1.7 percent, a fact he will use to claim sustained progress on one of the state’s perpetual political issues, a state government official told The Associated Press.

According to the administration’s data, more than 80 local governments and school boards out of more than 1,100 decreased taxes last year and 160 had increases of less than 1 percent.

The bill for a home assessed at the state average of about $300,000 was around $8,200 — the highest in the nation.

Christie signed a law in his first term capping property tax increases at 2 percent but allowed governments to exceed that limit for a handful of reasons, including paying debt service.

In 2011, the average bill went up 2.4 percent, and in 2012, the increase was 1.6 percent — a contrast with a 2004 through 2006, when the bills went up at least 7 percent each year.

Bills under Christie have risen more slowly than in the past, but many homeowners have seen their liability increase significantly because Christie has not fully restored a rebate program that was gutted by his predecessor during the Great Recession and made available to fewer people.

An AP analysis last year found that the average property tax burden, when taking rebate and other relief programs into account, rose by 13 percent in Christie’s first three years in office. That compared with a 15 percent increase during Jon Corzine’s first three years in office. Corzine emphasized rebates more, while Christie has focused largely on controlling spending by local governments.

Controlling property taxes has been a major theme for Christie since he first ran for governor back in 2009. But talking it up now gives him a way to change the subject from scandals that have dogged his administration for the past two months.

So, do you view this as an improvement, or more of the same old same old?
And is this announcement timed so as to allow the heat to be taken off the Governor in view of the recent scandals.

As for me, I’m glad the rate of growth is slower, but the fact that we’re still talking about “growth” in regards to property taxes is problematic.

How do you view the news that the average property tax bill in New Jersey has only risen by 1.7 percent? Good, bad? How much is your property tax bill, and how much longer do you plan on staying here?