Property Tax Losses Likely After Sandy [AUDIO]
New Jersey is still in the early stages of assessing the damage left behind by super-storm Sandy, but Governor Chris Christie and most experts agree the price tag will easily be in the billions.
One of the state's leading economists says Sandy will also have a serious impact on property tax collections and it won't be positive.
"I think there's going to be a significant negative impact on property tax collections at the local community level and particularly in the shore municipalities," explains Rutgers economist Joseph Seneca. "For municipalities that have a lot of structures damaged there is likely to be a short-term property tax loss either through people not being able to pay or that they don't want to pay on damaged structures and will appeal."
Seneca says people have lost value on their homes and businesses have lost value on their structures. In some cases land has been lost. He thinks the type of structures that replace demolished or damaged homes and businesses will also have an impact on property tax assessments.
"There may be some special programs that might compensate municipal governments in the short-run," says Seneca. "That's to-be-determined."
Seneca says the post-Sandy property tax collection scenario will play out over time, "in a very complicated way."
"We've had some had some conversations with mayors about the fact that we may need to do some legislative action to permit re-assessment," says Christie. "If a home is no longer there it seems fundamentally unfair they should have to pay taxes on the structure that no longer exists so there has to be a re-assessment and then for a period of time they just pay the portion that's on the property itself and if there's legislative action that needs to be taken to do some of those things I'm sure that's some of the stuff that we'll be talking about in the next few weeks."
The Governor explains, "We've already signed an Executive Order to delay the payment of property taxes until the 16th of this month and then to also permit towns to delay that payment until December 31st at their discretion."