TRENTON – Senator Paul A. Sarlo, D-Bergen, Essex, and Passaic and Vice Chair of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, released the following statement today at a news conference held by the New Jersey League of Municipalities Concerning the impact the proposed FY09 State Budget will have on local property taxes:
“I’ve been clear from the day Governor Corzine announced his budget proposal that we must restore the $189 million in municipal aid cuts to New Jersey’s small municipalities. Our small towns are among the most efficient in the State and these cuts would dramatically raise property taxes for countless families throughout the State and send the wrong message to taxpayers.
“When you add in the fact that many of the towns that are facing municipal aid cuts just saw an increase in their school aid when we passed the new school funding formula, these cuts make even less sense. It’s like robbing Peter to just pay Peter the money back.
“The Legislature will need to find other places in the budget to cut to make up for this $189 million, but municipal aid is too critical to our communities to allow these cuts to continue.
“There is certainly more that all municipalities can do, both large and small, to cut costs and make local government more efficient. But the cuts the Governor proposed this year based on population are too arbitrary and too quick to allow our towns to make those changes.
“The Legislature should work this summer after the budget is passed to develop changes to the municipal aid formula that move our towns towards sensible consolidations and shared service agreements. Forcing these towns to go ‘cold turkey’ in a matter of months will only hurt New Jersey’s property taxpayers.”