Legislation Now Heads to Voters as Ballot Question this November
TRENTON – A resolution sponsored by Senator Ellen Karcher which would ask voters to constitutionally dedicate half of this year’s penny increase in the State sales tax to property tax reform efforts was approved today by the Senate by a vote of 35-0, and by the Assembly by a vote of 77-0, and now heads to this voters as a ballot question this November.
“Through this legislation, we are committing a non-lapsing source of revenue to fix New Jersey’s long-broken property tax system,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “For over thirty years, government in New Jersey has relied too heavily on property taxes to fund some of its most basic obligations, and taxpayers have been socked with increase upon increase. We have to draw a line in the sand, and by asking the voters to approve this down-payment on reform, we are taking the first steps towards reigning in runaway property taxes.”
The resolution, SCR-1, would, if approved by voters as a ballot question this Fall, amend the State Constitution to place half of the funds collected annually from this year’s penny increase in the sales tax into a special account which would be dedicated for programs designed to stabilize and lower New Jersey’s property tax burden. The dedicated funds would be collected in a special account, known as the Property Tax Reform Account, within the already-established Property Tax Relief Fund. It is estimated that this proposal will generate between $500 million and $600 million each year for property tax reform, with over $5 billion available in the first ten years of the program.
“Efforts to reform New Jersey’s dilapidated property tax system can not run on good intentions alone,” said Senator Karcher. “State government has to make an investment to see real changes on the local level and real, lasting relief for our over-burdened taxpayers.”
The sales tax dedication is the first initiative in an historic effort to bring systemwide reform to New Jersey’s property tax system. At a joint meeting of the Legislature, held earlier today, Governor Corzine addressed a joint meeting of the Senate and Assembly, to outline his goals to accomplish property tax reform and open a Special Session of the Legislature dedicated to resolving the State’s property tax crisis. Senator Karcher noted that she looks forward to working during the Special Session on behalf of the residents in the 12th Legislative District and taxpayers throughout the State who have had enough of annual tax increases well-above the rate of inflation.
“New Jersey’s skyrocketing property taxes are literally driving people out of the State, and have made the Garden State unaffordable for so many seeking to raise a family or live out their retirement years here,” said Senator Karcher. “Taming the property tax beast may be the biggest challenge we face in this legislative session, but failure is not an option. We can no longer settle for the status quo when it comes to property taxes, and this summer, I look forward to working as hard as I can during the Special Session to make a difference for New Jersey’s overtaxed residents.”