Tax cap ‘loopholes’ must be addressed, Christie says

TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie said today that when the Legislature reconvenes this fall the holes related to the 2 percent property tax cap have to be filled.

Items they did not get to earlier this year must be addressed, he said during a press conference, otherwise the tax cap imposed on towns won’t work.

Municipalities have been clamoring that they are hamstrung, unable to raise taxes beyond 2 percent yet they have to find ways to deal with costs that keep escalating.

And that has led some towns to seek “innovative’’ ways to circumvent the cap.

“We have got to get it done this fall,’’ Christie said in reference to plugging the loopholes. “We can’t pass a 2 percent cap and then allow mayors to run around the cap,” he said.

Among other things, towns have attempted to label certain services such as trash collection subject to a “user fee” that could be imposed in addition to the tax cap.

Senate President Steve Sweeney, (D-3), West Deptford, and Sen. Thomas Kean Jr., (R-21), Westfield, introduced a bill, S1914, to prevent towns from circumventing the tax cap that way.  The bill cleared the Senate, but is now in an Assembly committee stage.

“It’s inappropriate,’’ Christie said of what towns are doing. “We’ve got to get it fixed.”

In addition, he said the Legislature and his office have to deal with promoting shared services, another way to help municipalities reduce costs.

Tax cap ‘loopholes’ must be addressed, Christie says