Leaders Confident Nov. 15 Deadline for Property Tax Reform Proposals Will Be Met
TRENTON – Reaffirming their determination to meet the November 15 property tax special session reporting deadline, Senate President Richard J. Codey and Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts, Jr., today announced that they expect to provide a 20 percent average property tax reduction to a majority of New Jersey households.
The legislative leaders said they expect the co-chairs of the four Joint Committees on Property Tax Reform to produce reports by November 15 that will include comprehensive proposals aimed at providing immediate short-term relief and long-term structural reform to improve the delivery of government services, chief among them the 20 percent property tax reduction.
“I want to thank our committee members for accepting this challenging responsibility and tackling a problem that has persisted for three decades in just three months,” said Senator Codey. “Governor Corzine’s tireless cooperation has also been crucial in helping us reach our goals. The work of the Legislature will not be done until we are confident that hardworking families feel real relief in their wallets and long-term peace of mind.”
“Structural reforms are necessary, but immediate relief is essential,” said Speaker Roberts. “The finish line is in sight and now we can make projections of the immediate property tax relief most homeowners will experience. An average 20 percent property tax credit for the majority of New Jersey households is achievable. It will be a new system of relief that Governor Corzine and all legislators can take pride and satisfaction in.”
Based on conversations with the co-chairs of the four committees and extensive public deliberations, the legislative leaders anticipate the committee reports will contain the following broad reforms:
Providing a property tax credit of 20 percent for most New Jersey households;
Establishing a new school-aid formula that will provide funding based on need, rather than geography, and include increased accountability for school district spending;
Broad reforms to public employee pensions and health benefits, which will include reforms to eliminate abuses; and
Providing realistic ways to assist in the consolidation, regionalization and sharing of services among municipalities and school districts.
The proposals are expected to be part of a sweeping package of legislative reforms that will cap an intense three-month long study of New Jersey’s property tax system and the factors that have contributed to the state’s highest-in-the-nation property tax rates.
The four committees that have been meeting since August have studied the areas of government consolidation and shared services; public school funding reform; public employee benefits reform; and constitutional reform and a citizens’ property tax convention.
After the full Legislature has time to review the reports of the four committees, Senate President Codey and Assembly Speaker Roberts expect legislation codifying the proposals to be introduced and acted upon in December, paving the way for the possibility of real, substantial reforms to be enacted before the end of the year.