Greenwald says Christie failed to devise true property tax relief

Assembly Budget Chairman Lou Greenwald, (D-6), Voorhees, criticized the Christie administration Tuesday alleging failure to come up with a viable property tax relief plan.

“Gov. Christie delivered the highest property taxes New Jerseyans have ever seen thanks to last year’s 4.1 percent increase,  the highest since 2007, and based on what we heard today, it looks like the administration is in denial and still lacks a viable plan,” Greenwald said in reference to budget committee hearings involving the State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff.

“It takes simple math to figure out why property taxes soared last year – the governor cut school aid by $1 billion and municipal aid by $445 million,” Greenwald said in a release.

Greenwald also took issue with Christie’s so-called tool-kit package of 33 proposals that are designed to give municipalities the means to deal with the 2 percent tax cap levy.

According to Greenwald, 22 bills actually were introduced, 15 were certified as needing fiscal notes, fiscal information has been received on three, and of those three,  one showed state savings of $140,000 annually and indeterminate potential local savings. one showed additional state revenue of $440,000 and one showed additional state costs of up to $331,000.

“This is hardly the stuff of property tax cuts and major reform,” he said.

In addition, Assemblymen John Burzichelli, (D-3), Salem/Cumberland/Gloucester, claimed there are inconsistencies in Christie’s homestead rebate program.

 “In his first year in office, the Governor cut local aid by a billion and a half dollars and all but eliminated homestead rebates for seniors, the disabled and low and middle income earners,” Burzichelli said in a release.  “Residents have now lost over $4 billion in property tax relief between the FY 2011 budget and the proposed FY 2012 budget.

“Last year, the Governor cut Homestead rebates by $848 million, leaving just $268 million for the lowest income residents who are now paying part of the $1 billion in property tax increases.

“For FY 2012, the Governor said he will double last year’s rebates, but this still leaves residents 50 percent below what they got in FY 2010.  This is far below full funding of the rebates, something Governor Christie repeatedly pledged to do on the campaign trail.” 

Greenwald says Christie failed to devise true property tax relief