Old lady getting thrown out of home over NJ taxes — I’m not surprised (Opinion)
It's not the first time an elderly widow faces losing her home over property taxes. It's happened to scores of people over the last few years. You can't pay your property taxes on the home you own, maybe even built with your own hands, and the state/ county/ town confiscates it from you because you can't afford the outrageous tax on the house. Here in New Jersey we're almost numb to the fact that our property taxes are the highest in the nation and sometimes 20 to 50 times higher than other states.
Rose Estanwick of Cranford is about to turn 107 and has lived in her home since 1943. She suffers from dementia and is not fully aware they she may lose the home she's lived in for the last 76 years. Her daughter Roseanne is her full-time caretaker and is trying to raise money to save her mother's home.
There have been cheap gimmicks over the years to appease the angry homeowners of New Jersey, like the homestead rebate. Various forms over the years were limited to certain age or income groups, but it usually only amounted to a tiny fraction of the tax bill every year. No one in Trenton even pretends to tackle the issue anymore. It's the biggest problem actually under the control of state government but our politicians have given up, and frankly so have the citizens of New Jersey. For years various groups tried to pressure candidates and politicians into solving this ridiculous problem, but they've seen the only solution is in the rear view mirror of a moving van. It's sad but true.
The main culprit is how we fund education. Roughly 74% of your property tax bill goes to school funding. Whether you have 10 kids or 1 or never had any and never will, you WILL pay. They say it's an investment for the common good of our society. Like a lot of the tax we pay in the state, it's an investment in the pension and benefits of public unions. They've proved too powerful for any politician in the state to even bring up the prospect of true reform that would allow for lower taxes. So is there any answer? Like I said, moving out is the only real answer, but in the meantime we can be thankful that our 106 year-old mother is not the one being tossed out into the street ... this week!
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