Third District Republican Congressional candidate Jon Runyan, who flew in from San Diego last night after ending his football career on Sunday, was greeted this morning by a Philadelphia Inquirer story about a farmland tax assessment he took out on 20 of his Mount Laurel estate’s 25 acres.
Runyan paid $57,000 in taxes on five of his acres, but only $468 on the 20 acres classified as farmland. Five of those acres are used to graze his four donkeys (he expanded his farm’s donkey population from one to four after a tax assessor told him that he needed more to qualify for the farmland assessment), while 15 are used for timber (he sold $810 worth of firewood from the property).
“With anyone who pays $60,000 in taxes, it’s hard to say he’s getting a break,” Runyan Campaign Manager Chris Russell told the Inquirer.
The farmland tax assessment has come up as a campaign issue several times in recent New Jersey political campaigns, with varying success. Then-Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck (R-Red Bank) used the issue to help unseat state Sen. Ellen Karcher (D-Marlboro). It has also been used against former Gov. Christie Whitman, U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Wantage), former U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer (R-Delaware Twp.)