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NJ Shared Services Bill Could Die Monday [AUDIO]

Any bill that doesn’t pass both houses of the New Jersey Legislature by this coming Monday will die and have to be reintroduced when the new legislature takes over Tuesday. One such bill that appears to be in jeopardy is a measure that would force towns to share services where it makes sense, or risk losing state aid equal to the amount that would have been saved.

Asm. Lou Greenwald, Asm. Declan O'Scanlon
Assemblyman Lou Greenwald (D) and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R) on a property tax panel at Monmouth University (Townsquare Media)

“It will really incentivize towns to move forward and take advantage of these savings, otherwise they’ll have something to lose,” said Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Red Bank), who sponsors the measure in the Assembly. “There isn’t any one thing we can do that’s going to cut property taxes in half. It’s an accumulation of things, a batch of things makes something that’s significant.”

The bill, as approved by the full Senate, would require a panel of experts to study local government units to determine where taxpayer dollars could be saved through sharing of services. If the study shows that a savings can be realized through sharing, 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.

“I’m pretty disappointed,” O’Scanlon said, referring to the likelihood the bill will die. “Whenever there’s something that’s so obvious that for some political reason doesn’t happen, you’ve got to be disappointed. If this bill dies, then we start right out of the gate again to get it reintroduced.”

Assembly Democratic Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Voorhees) said the session isn’t technically over, so by definition the bill isn’t dead yet.

The legislation is sponsored in the upper house by Sen. President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford). He said if it dies in the Assembly, he’ll reintroduce in his house as Senate Bill Number One, which indicates it is the top issue in the new session of the legislature.

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