WEST LONG BRANCH – The time may finally be here for a constitutional convention to address the lingering, often crushing issue of property taxes.
That was the assessment by Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, (D-6), Voorhees, who with Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, (R-13), Red Bank participated in a panel discussion presented by the New Jersey League of Municipalities Tuesday.
Greenwald said state lawmakers have taken various initiatives to tackle the problem of higher taxes, but property taxes have continued to grow. It’s just that the rate has slowed down slightly.Greenwald said state lawmakers have taken various initiatives to tackle the problem of higher taxes, but property taxes have continued to grow. It’s just that the rate has slowed down slightly. Among the moves, he said, state govenrment has made to slow the growth of the tax hikes are the 2 percent property tax cap, interest arbitration reform, pension and health benefits reform, and pay-to-play reform.
A constitutional convention, he said, would at least allow citizens to explore options states have used to keep their property taxes under more control.
The high property tax crisis can also be solved, he said, just as the state did previously when auto insurance rates were skyrocketing.
“We fixed a problem many considered unfixable,” he said. “The convention will be a citizens voice.”
O’Scanlon said that while he’s not against the idea of a convention, he believes that the state government and lawmakers could find solutions to the problem.
He called for greater spending controls by state government so more money could go toward property tax relief.
He added about the convention, “you want to be careful what you wish for,” because there’s a possibility that some of the most radicalized citizens would participate.
At least one mayor, Michael Fressola of Manchester Township, supports the convention idea.
“If we have too many gutless people (at the state level), than that’s what it’s going to take,” he said.
He said it was a disgrace no solutions were provided by the lawmakers on addressing the property tax crisis.