TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Bernard F. Kenny, Jr., D-Hudson, the co-chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Constitutional Reform and the Citizens Property Tax Constitutional Convention, issued the following statement today on the panel’s hearing on the State’s “Uniformity Clause,” a stipulation in the State Constitution that the tax levy issued by each municipality taxes all property on the same basis, regardless of use, and various exemptions to the property tax:
“Today’s testimony was extraordinarily helpful in outlining the quagmire of New Jersey’s property tax system, and its multitude of exemptions and numerous Constitutional amendments which are excepted from the ‘Uniformity Clause.’ Professor (Robert) Williams’s expertise on the constitutional issues of taxation help shed some light on just how complicated our system has become.
“Moving forward with the vital work of this Committee, we need to quantify, in cost and on the merit to the people of New Jersey, the hundreds of statutory exemptions and nearly ten Constitutional amendments which are exempted from the ‘Uniformity Clause.’ – some for very legitimate purposes.
“As we learned today, New Jersey’s ‘Uniformity Clause’ which guarantees that all property is taxed on an equal basis within a municipality, is anything but uniform, with exemptions and Constitutional amendments carved out over the years. The only standard has been high property taxes for the homeowners of the State.
“Reforming New Jersey’s property tax crisis is going to require a fundamental reexamination of how New Jersey’s tax structure has gotten to this point, and how we can achieve real, sustainable fairness which puts downward pressure on soaring property taxes.”