TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic) to pilot a new system for real property assessment that would provide more certainty in the municipal budget process by changing the tax appeal calendar was given final approval yesterday by the full Assembly. It now heads to the desk of Governor Chris Christie.
The bill (S-1213) is aimed at staving off dramatic and unexpected revenue losses experienced by municipalities due to successful tax appeals by residents and businesses. Since appeals are often decided after a municipality has crafted its budget, towns and cities are left scrambling to fill the budget gap.
“The current system for property assessment is flawed as it creates an environment of unpredictability for local officials. Successful tax appeals can make anticipated revenue plummet, leaving local officials scrambling to make up for the loss. In cases of excessive appeal reductions, municipalities have been forced to borrow money to pay their bills, which can further harm their financial position,” said Senator Van Drew. “This program is intended to create a more accurate and predictable system for local officials, by implementing an assessment appeal structure that takes place before the budget process is completed.”