Independent Council Would Crunch Data, Recommend Alterations
Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney today introduced legislation to create a six-member property tax advisory panel to track the progress of the new two-percent property tax cap and recommend potential changes to the law.
Sweeney said the panel – with two members chosen by each the Governor, Senate President and Assembly Speaker – is necessary to ensuring the cap remains relevant as economic conditions change.
“The greatest advantage to a statutory cap is the ability for us to make changes to the law when they become necessary,” said Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem). “Only by carefully tracking the data will we be sure that the cap is having the effect we need. This panel will ensure that we are getting independent, data-driven advice based on what’s actually going on in New Jersey and not what may be the political cause of the moment.”
The Property Tax Levy Cap Task Force would undertake a three-year study of the impact of the cap law, working within, but not as part of, the Department of Community Affairs. The panel would take into consideration the overall property tax burden and its constituent parts, including municipal finances, the structure and functions of county and municipal government and labor contracts. The task force would issue its final report to the Governor and the Legislature by November 1, 2013.
“The cap can only be effective so long as we quickly respond to new pressures that threaten to push municipalities to the brink,” said Sweeney. “Just because we are putting reform in place now does not mean we can simply wipe our hands and walk away.”