TRENTON – Assembly lawmakers spent hours talking to the state’s top housing regulator Thursday, with much of the time focused on Democrats criticizing the Republican administration’s “victory” over rising property taxes.
The Democratic-controlled Assembly Budget Committee grilled Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable over what Assemblyman John Burzichelli, (D-3), called “the highest property tax bills” in the state’s history.
“For the homeowner who has seen their rebate credit or check eliminated, their property taxes are, on average, a net 18.6 percent higher since Gov. Christie took office. So the emperor’s not wearing any clothes when he stands up and says property taxes are lower,” he said in a statement following the hearing.
“My point is that we have to keep working. The pain is out there and I don’t think we should be celebratory,” Burzichelli continued.
Despite the criticism, Republican lawmakers hailed the administration’s policies as key reforms that have helped the state steer away from the rising-tax status quo.
“After property taxes soared by 70 percent under Democrat administrations last decade, our reforms limit growth to less than the rate of inflation,” stated Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, (R-13).
“Taxpayer savings from pension reform escalated from $267 million last year to $543 million this year. Combined with $100 million savings from health care reform, property taxpayers are saving more than $645 million this year,” he said. “Those numbers will continue to add up and are sweet music to the ears of every property taxpayer in New Jersey.”