From a mayor’s POV: Singer doubtful of proposed tax cap

TRENTON – State Sen. Robert W. Singer (R-Lakewood) doubts the effectiveness of a proposal reported to be in Gov. Chris Christie’s budget address tomorrow: the imposition of a constitutional amendment capping annual property tax hikes at all levels of government to 2.5%.

“We negotiated a contract with our police that gave them a 4.5% raise last year and a three and a half percent raise this year,” said the senator, who also serves as mayor of Lakewood. “It’s binding arbitration. We have over 400 employees and we’re the eighth largest town in the state. Many of our other unions are basing their approach to negotiations on what we did with the police.

“If you had one contract for everybody in the state, it (a cap) would work,” Singer said.

Otherwise, it won’t, he’s convinced.

“Not without tools to do it, and right now, I don’t have any evidence that I will have those tools,” he explained. 

Singer lives in a legislative district overseen in part at the congressional level by U.S. Re. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton), who faces a primary challenge this year by businessman Alan Bateman, a pro-gun, anti-cap and trade bill candidate.

“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with Chris Smith for 30 years,” said Singer. “He is the consummate pro-life candidate, and he has done a wonderful job.”

Another big town in Singer’s district, Jackson Twp. faces a mayoral contest this year. Incumbent Mayor Mike Reina, a Republican, is seeking a full, four-year term against Democratic Councilman Michael Kafton.

“Kafton has run how many times now?” Singer asked dismissively. “Look, Mayor Reina has done a great job. During a snowstorm this year, he manned one of the snowplows himself.” From a mayor’s POV: Singer doubtful of proposed tax cap