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Working Toward Real Property Tax Relief [AUDIO]

Would you agree to have your school district merge with neighboring districts to lower your property taxes?

Governor Chris Christie
Governor's Office/Tim Larsen

A growing number of Jersey property taxpayers are saying yes to that question.

During his latest town hall meeting in East Brunswick, Governor Christie says there’s a bill that’s going to be considered in the next 2 weeks or so in the Senate that will begin the forcing of shared services amongst school districts and municipalities across the state.

“And that forcing of shared services will occur by a simple fact. If you aren’t willing to share services that are proven to be able to save money, then we’re going to reduce your aid by that level,” he said.

Christie explains, “We have this real focus in New Jersey over the years on home rule – everybody wants their own thing- everybody wants their own police department, they want their own fire department, they want their own school district…they want their own everything… and we haven’t focused on what that costs. And so this is going to have to be in my opinion, a process, because it is going to be a C change in the way people govern themselves in New Jersey and they’ve been convinced over time that effective governance happens. We’re starting with the shared services idea, but in the end, if we really want to go to that kind of system, that’s going to be a discussion we’re going to have to have in this state over the next couple of years. And it’s going to take that long, believe me, I’ve seen how things take time in Trenton and it’s going to take a while.”

The Governor says, “Listen, there’s no reason for you to have your own CFO, and a CFO in the next district and a CFO in the municipality. All the money is coming into one place. Why can’t we have one person who counts it? We’ve got to move towards fixing it, the shared services bill I think is the first step in doing that.

Christie adds, “The one thing I’m scared about with this is – on the merging of municipalities – I don’t want people in Trenton deciding which towns should merge with each other. They say oh, New Brunswick and East Brunswick, they should merge. Maybe New Brunswick and East Brunswick don’t think they should merge. Maybe they’re not as compatible as a bureaucrat sitting in a cubicle in Trenton might think.”

“If we’re going to start moving taxes down and we’re going to change the mentality in this state to say taxes should be lower and government should be smaller, we gotta start somewhere. So, lets start with the shared services bill. We need to be realistic about it, that is going to be a hard fight…Lots of people say, don’t take away my school district – I want my school district- I want to be able to go down the street to speak to my board of education and speak to my people to deal with my kids – I don’t want to go to some bureaucrat. This is a fight we have to have in public and we have to work it out together.”

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