NJ Politics Digest: Why Municipal Taxes Are Likely To Rise Because of Murphy’s Budget

New Jersey’s municipalities are being left out in the cold again by a state budget that seeks to freeze aid to towns at 2010 levels.

Phil Murphy
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. Flickr/Phil Murphy for Governor

Gov. Phil Murphy spoke a lot about his plan to increase aid to school districts throughout the state. But local residents could still see property taxes rise, because the governor failed to mention that he’s continuing to freeze state aid to municipalities at 2010 levels.

NJSpotlight reported that the flat aid, coupled with the failure to extend a two percent cap on arbitration awards for police and firefighter salaries, will leave towns hard-pressed to hold the line on property taxes.

Of course, Murphy is not the first governor to keep the aid spigot closed for municipalities.

“This will be the eighth year of flat funding, following three years during which municipal property-tax relief funding was reduced by a total of $320 million,” Jon Moran, senior legislative analyst with the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, said in the report.

While aid to municipalities has remained virtually flat over the past eight years, inflation has increased about 15 percent, according to the NJSpotlight report.

Quote of the Day: “It will only get harder.” — Jon Moran, senior legislative analyst with the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, on holding the line on property taxes in light of Gov. Phil Murphy’s decision to freeze municipal aid at 2010 levels while the two percent cap on annual raises for police and firefighters was allowed to expire.

House Passes Spending Bill With $540 Million Available for Gateway Project
After months of wrangling between the Trump administration and New Jersey and New York lawmakers, the House passed a massive spending bill Thursday that includes $540 million that could be used for the Gateway Tunnel project.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

If Murphy Holds Municipal Aid Flat, Can Property Taxes Go Anywhere But Up?
New Jersey’s municipalities are being left out in the cold again by a state budget that seeks to freeze aid to towns at 2010 levels, leaving municipal officials with little choice but to increase property taxes to avoid cutting services.
NJSpotlight Read more

Here’s What Wall Street Thinks of Phil Murphy’s Plan to Raise Sales Tax
After lawmakers struck a deal with Gov. Chris Christie to cut New Jersey’s sales tax in exchange for a big increase in the gas tax, Wall Street rating agencies warned the lost revenue would put the state in a financial jam and called it a “negative” for the state’s credit outlook.
NJ.com Read more

Here’s How the Governor Plans to Ease Property Taxes—a Bit
Property-tax bills went up yet again in New Jersey last year, and only adding to the pain are new federal tax rules that cap a longstanding federal write-off for local taxes. Enter Gov. Phil Murphy, whose first state budget proposal would provide some relief. It calls for an expansion of a New Jersey deduction for property taxes, but it also keeps in place other policies that can end up shortchanging many.
NJSpotlight Read more

How Trump Could Block Money for Hudson River Rail Tunnel, Imperiling NYC Commute
Supporters of a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River claimed victory Thursday, with the pending approval of federal legislation containing funds that could be used to pay for it.
The Record Read more

Union Official Says It’s Too Early to Celebrate Gateway Funding
Greg Lalevee was thrilled to see the statements from U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce head Tom Bracken and Amtrak about the Gateway Tunnel project securing more than $500 million in funding in the omnibus spending bills passed in the House on Thursday.
ROI-NJ Read more

NJ Chamber President Hails Gateway Funding
New Jersey Chamber of Commerce President Tom Bracken hailed some anticipated federal funding for the Gateway Program that’s expected to make its way out of Congress soon.
NJBiz Read more

Thousands More New Jersey Patients Could Soon Qualify for Medical Marijuana
Thousands more patients in New Jersey would be eligible to receive medical marijuana under a new bill that broadly defines qualifying conditions and vastly increases the number of dispensaries that can operate in the state.
The Record Read more

A New Idea for NJ: Give Narcan to Released Prisoners
With the opioid crisis continuing unabated, lawmakers are considering new strategies for dealing with it – including the possibility of offering inmates on their way out of prison an injection that blocks heroin’s effects on the brain, plus a dose of Narcan, which can reverse an overdose.
NJ101.5 Read more

Lakewood Vaad Jumps Into Fray of School Funding Crisis
The township’s influential organization of Jewish leaders is piling public pressure on Gov. Phil Murphy to allocate more funding to the struggling school district.
Asbury Park Press Read more

New York, New Jersey Airport Workers to See Wage Hikes
Workers at New York-area airports will see their wages nearly double after the agency that operates the airports approved a series of hikes through 2023, bringing to a close years of protests.
Associated Press Read more

Local Students Rise up in Response to Parkland Shooting, School Violence
Briana LaFleur was at her grandparents’ home in Swainton on Feb. 14 when she saw the first headlines of a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on the news.
Press of Atlantic City Read more

NJ Schol’s Solution to Snow? Virtual Day for Students
A North Jersey school district will make up a snow day without asking students to set foot in school.
After superintendent Erik Gundersen cancelled classes on Wednesday for the Pascack Valley Regional High School district in Bergen County, he announced the day would be made up with a “Virtual Day” on Friday, April 6, during the school’s spring break.
NJ101.5 Read more

Cory Booker Was Just Challenged to a Duel by a US Senator. He Accepted. Here’s What Happened Next.
There are lots of ways to end bitter fights in Congress, but most of them involve long, boring speeches to an empty room. But that’s not how Cory Booker rolls.
NJ.com Read more

Biden to Visit NJ as He and Trump Say They Could Beat Each Other Up
Former Vice President Joe Biden will get another chance to explain how he would have taken down President Trump in high school when he speaks in Madison next week.
NJ.com Read more

MLK’s Speech in Paterson Was One of His Last: Hear From Those Who Witnessed It
Thousands of people were jamming the sidewalks on a late March evening 50 years ago when the motorcade that brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Paterson finally turned the corner onto Auburn Street and made its way to the old wooden church where the sound of gospel music swirled through the rafters like incense.
The Record Read more

Detective’s Suit Alleges Gender Bias, Sexual Innuendo; Prosecutor Calls It Baseless
A police union leader in the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office claims in a lawsuit that she’s been subjected to on-the-job sexist remarks, vulgar names, sexual rumors and retaliation for complaining about it.
Asbury Park Press Read more

Parents of Man Killed During Paterson Auxiliary Police Pursuit Get $1.2M Settlement
The City Council on Tuesday approved a $1.2 million settlement in a lawsuit involving the death of a man killed in a motorcycle crash while he was being improperly pursued by auxiliary police officers.
The Record Read more

NJ Marijuana Legalization: Toms River May Bring Back Weed Ban
Township Council members haven’t given up on their weed ban plan.
Asbury Park Press Read more

JCP&L Offers Free Water and Ice to Those Without Power
Jersey Central Power & Light is offering free ice and water to customers still without power following last night’s snowstorm.
Asbury Park Press Read more

Thousands of Native American Artifacts Unearthed in Camden Archaeological Dig
Nearly 10,000 Native American artifacts—a rectangular ceramic vessel, tool fragments, arrowheads, and other projectile points—have been discovered at two archaeological excavation sites in Camden.
Inquirer Read more

Phil Murphy’s Backwards Cap Is the Coolest Thing Any Governor Has Ever Done… Ever
It might be cool to be governor, but you rarely look cool.
NJ.com Read more

Editorial: Speed Paterson Schools Back to Local Control
An entire generation has passed through Paterson’s public schools while the district was under state control. The next generation should come through while the district is under local control.
The Record Read more

Editorial: Gateway Project Gets a Reprieve, in Spite of Trump
There is an emerging concern that everything Donald Trump touches tends to die, and that goes for Cabinet appointments, congressional campaigns, American values, national institutions, international decorum, and Chris Christie’s political pulse.
NJ.com Read more

Editorial: When Students Brandishing Guns Are ‘None of Your Damn Business’
A few weeks after the Parkland school massacre, a New Jersey school district gets a call from a nervous parent, who flags a photo on social media of two students with four rifles, magazines and a gun duffel bag, captioned, “fun day at the range.”
Star-Ledger Read more

NJ Politics Digest: Why Municipal Taxes Are Likely To Rise Because of Murphy’s Budget