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Greenstein To State: Practice What You Preach

Senator Says New Jersey Should Aid Mayors in Reducing Property Taxes by Giving Them Fair Share of ETR

TRENTON – Senator Linda R. Greenstein, D-Middlesex/Mercer, made the following statement today regarding the state’s practice of unfairly redistributing energy tax receipts:

“Originally created to standardize the energy infrastructure tax system statewide, the state has collected the energy tax receipts since the 1980’s and then has returned them back to the municipalities in the form of state aid. The program is intended to provide increased funding to towns each year based on an inflation-adjusted formula.

“Instead, this Administration has cut municipal aid so severely – $458 million in the first two Christie budgets – that some towns have seen decreases in the amount of Energy Tax Receipts aid provided. These decreases are in violation of the statutory formula and must be corrected going forward. We need to restore fairness to towns that were promised certain funds from the state and are receiving well below what they expected and budgeted for.

“Communities in my district and throughout the state are seeing drastic cuts that are affecting their ability to balance their budgets and keep property taxes low. Mayor Janice Mironov saw more than $825,000 cut from East Windsor’s energy tax receipts aid from FY 2009 to FY 2010. Hamilton Township saw nearly $3.5 million cut during that same time period. While the state is asking these towns – and in fact all New Jerseyans – to tighten their belts, reduce their costs and be fiscally responsible, they are taking away millions of dollars in promised aid, placing a disproportionate burden on these municipalities.

“As the state moves into another budget cycle, reducing property taxes must be a top priority. But in order to see real property tax relief, we must give our mayors the tools necessary so they continue to provide high quality services their residents need, while maintaining a balanced budget. This is why I have introduced legislation in the State Senate that would revert the allocation formula of these funds back to FY 2010 levels – when municipalities were getting their fair share from the ETR fund.

“I look forward to working with legislators on both sides of the aisle along with the Governor and his Administration to find other solutions along with this one to yield real property tax savings for towns and relief for New Jersey residents.”