TRENTON – The N.J. League of Municipalities recommends that the hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenue now anticipated by Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff and Office of Legislative Services budget officer David Rosen should go toward property tax relief.
Buena Vista Mayor Chuck Chiarello, the league’s president, said in a release:
“With between $565 million and $913 million new dollars available, we urge state policy makers to consider last year’s massive cuts in dedicated municipal property tax relief funding and to restore $275 million to our property taxpayers through the energy tax, CMPTRA (comprehensive property tax relief act) and open space funding.”
“Every year, the state collects revenues that are supposed to come back to our municipalities. These provide local budgets with dollars that don’t have to be raised through property taxes. Whenever the State decides not to deliver this funding for property tax relief, local officials find it more and more difficult to keep property taxes down,” he said.
“When presenting our testimony on the Governor’s original budget proposal we expressed to the Legislature our support for level municipal revenue replacement funding,” he said. “At that time, we urged the Legislature to use that proposal as a baseline. Now that we know that actual State revenue receipts exceed anticipations, the State should increase the distribution to Energy Tax and CMPTRA funding, as required by the statutes.”
The league argued that this would help towns deal with the 2 percent levy cap despite the fact many of the governor’s accompanying toolkit reforms have not been adopted.
“For the longer term, the State must end its reliance on local revenues to balance its budget,” Chiarello said. “Revenues meant to be used for property tax relief must begin to be restored and we need a State commitment to that. We will work with the Administration and the Legislature on a plan to wean the State off of its dependence on municipal money, and to rededicate the dollars to municipal property tax relief.”