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Smith – Next Week’s Hearings To Focus On Shared Service Proposals

Committee Will Begin Hearing Responses to Property Tax Solutions

TRENTON – Senator Bob Smith, D-Middlesex and Somerset, the co-chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Government Consolidation and Shared Services, issued the following statement today regarding next week’s committee hearing, in which the panel will ask for input on specific shared service proposals:

“Next week’s committee meeting will signal a change of focus, as we shift gears from looking at shared services and government consolidation with an academic eye to a pragmatic one. We will begin discussing specific shared services proposals, and we will look for input from the local officials who will have to live with what we do to promote efficient government.

“So far, the testimony we’ve received to the Committee has been excellent, and has helped paint a picture of where we are in terms of consolidating and regionalizing government services. Now, we must begin to look at real-world solutions to the property tax problem, and craft legislation to stabilize New Jersey’s burdensome property taxes.

“I have no doubt that there will be resistance to anything we propose. No one wants to give up local identity and services, but when it means a measure of relief to beleaguered taxpayers, we need to take action.

“I look forward to a healthy and hearty exchange of ideas next week as we begin to talk about the real-world answers to New Jersey’s property tax dilemma. By engaging the public officials who will be at the front lines of consolidation and regionalization, I think we will be able to craft the best legislation to address our property tax crisis in this State.”