TRENTON – Senate President Richard J. Codey issued the following statement today regarding Governor Corzine’s address to a joint meeting of the New Jersey Legislature, officially kicking off a Legislative Session to deal with the State’s property tax crisis:
“I thought the Governor gave a very thoughtful, comprehensive, and realistic address. He didn’t sugar-coat the situation, and he offered a broad vision of the long-term reforms he’d like to see enacted.
“He didn’t ignore the glaring reality, that for too long property owners have been getting blitzed by steadily advancing taxes.
“It’s clear we need to hold the line, and wherever possible, push them back. Our hardworking residents shouldn’t have to move out of state to enjoy a better quality of life.
“In the coming weeks and months, I expect a very energized dialogue.
“Real reforms won’t be easy.
“There will be many challenges in creating change. There will be turf battles, and some feathers will be ruffled.
“But it’s incumbent upon us to put these differences aside in the end to put the public first and to remember that this is what we have been elected to do.
“As I’ve said in the past, I would like to see substantial changes in the areas of shared services and school funding.
“We’ve all seen the facts. School funding accounts for half of the annual statewide property tax levy. And nearly three quarters of the state budget goes back out in grants and state aid to offset property taxes.
“Yet local levies continue to rise.
“If we are really going to reverse this tide, we must find ways to tackle the roots of this problem.
“More than anything, I urge the public to get involved in this debate — to come forward with their suggestions, to testify at hearings, to follow the progress in the news — so that in the end, our actions will reflect their will.”