Karcher: ‘Republicans Should Be Ashamed For Politicizing Property Tax Reform’

Senator Says State Government Committee Neither Time, Nor Place for Politics

TRENTON – Senator Ellen Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer, the prime sponsor of a measure which would ask voters to approve a constitutional amendment dedicating half of this year’s sales tax increase to property tax reform, issued the following statement today regarding a joint meeting of the Senate and Assembly State Government Committees on the bill:

“Frankly, I was shocked that some Republican members on both Committees would stoop to attempting to scuttle property tax reform to win political points. While it may benefit their party’s political aspirations to retain the status quo on property taxes, it absolutely does not benefit the working men and women who have had enough of sky-high property tax increases.

“The point was made that we need protections from fraud and abuse when it comes to spending State funds to fix the antiquated property tax system. I wholeheartedly agree. But this is not the bill, and property tax reform is not the place, to offer cheap political theatrics and partisan soundbytes which jeopardize reform efforts.

“For the record, SCR-1 is intended solely to dedicate funds for property tax reform. It does not outline how those funds will be spent down to the penny, nor should it, as we will be addressing how the money will be spent through a lengthy and in-depth special session.

“When the time comes to ensure that those funds are dispersed ethically and without partisan bias, I will be one of the strongest proponents for those protections. I have made it a cornerstone of my legislative career to stand up for ethical government. However, to suggest, as Republicans did today, that property tax reform is doomed before it even starts is callous, and is a sure sign of political opportunism.

“To my Republican colleagues, I say this — work with us towards reform, and judge us at the end as to whether we accomplish the goal. But do not let politics stand in the way of sound public policy, particularly when it comes to alleviating the property tax crisis in the Garden State.”