Prieto: Lowering NJ property taxes on his priority list
Issues and scandals both small and large seem to come and go in New Jersey, but one constant remains: sky-high property taxes.
Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto (D-Secaucus) said finding a solution is high on his to-do list for 2015, but he conceded that it won't be easy.
"We are looking at other states to enlist people to give us ideas. It's been a challenge. It's high on the priority list and it's a challenge again because you need revenues to be able to do this," Prieto said.
Cutting property taxes by just 4 percent statewide would require $1 billion annually, according to Prieto. If towns stay at the 2 percent cap on property tax increases, that would eat up half of the 4 percent cut, which means another billion dollars would be needed each year.
"Property taxes are high on my radar and trying to see what the answer to that is. I don't know the answer on it yet, but we're trying to whittle away at all of the other things that we need to get off of our plate so we can try and figure out what that solution will be," Prieto explained.
Forcing municipalities to share services has long been the goal for State Sen. President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford). He said he will push for that again in 2015. Prieto said a Rutgers report suggested that small municipalities are no more expensive to run than large municipalities.
"We're trying to do the best that we can on property taxes and it's difficult times especially since we have not rebounded (economically) as quickly as our surrounding states," Prieto explained.