Sweeney To Introduce Legislation To Further Contain Ever – Increasing Property Taxes

Would Prevent Towns From Moving Certain Spending Items Out Of The Cap

TRENTON – Senate President Steve Sweeney announced today that he will be introducing legislation that will help insulate property tax payers from efforts by local officials to make end runs around the state’s 2 percent cap by moving certain spending items, like trash collection, out of the property tax levy and into a “user fee.” On Tuesday, certain municipalities in New Jersey will consider referenda asking tax payers to approve raising taxes above the 2 percent levy cap.

Under the proposed legislation, services shifted from a property tax base to a “user fee” base would continue to be counted as part of the current 2 percent property tax cap for municipalities.

“A ‘user fee’ for a municipally provided service is just another way of saying ‘tax,’ and these attempts to get around the property tax cap are disingenuous and detrimental to homeowners,” said Sweeney (D-Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem). “Municipal governments must do more to control property taxes. Paying lip service to their residents needs for cost containment, then turning around and hitting them with a separate bill, is still just taking more money out of the same pocket.”

Some New Jersey municipalities are considering creating new “user fees” for services that are currently subject to the 2 percent tax cap. Current law isn’t clear about prohibiting this practice. Sweeney’s bill would make it clear that any services that get shifted to a user fee are still subject to the 2 percent cap.

“Under Governor Christie’s administration, people in New Jersey are paying, on average, 20 percent more in property taxes. They desperately need a break. While my proposed 10 percent property tax cut will certainly help, we need to take further steps to ensure that property taxes stop rising period. By restricting the items that towns can move out of the 2% cap, we can do just that,” said Sweeney.

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