Has Anything Been Done to Lower NJ Property Taxes in 2015?
New Jersey legislators have quite different opinions about whether or not anything has been done in 2015 to lower property taxes in the state.
The top Republican in the New Jersey Assembly isn't sure a single bill to lower the state's highest-in-the-nation average property tax bills has passed the Legislature in 2015. He was sure that Democrats were blocking property tax relief efforts spearheaded by GOP lawmakers.
The leading Democrat in the same legislative house strongly disagrees. He said a variety of property relief bills have been approved this year and Republicans were standing in the way of several other measures to lower property taxes including one that could be the most effective.
"I can think of a whole bunch of bills that Republican lawmakers have that the Democratic majority won't post," said Assembly GOP Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield). "The school funding formula, we should be addressing that. We have these payouts for public workers who were not sick and get hundreds of thousands of dollars. That's another bill that we've asked the speaker and Senate president to post. We've had no action."
There was bill to cap payouts to public employees for their unused sick and vacation days, but Gov. Chris Christie vetoed it said Assembly Democratic Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Voorhees).
"The Legislature led by the Democratic Party has introduced a number of pieces of legislation that he (Bramnick) has rejected. Obviously the most publicized one was a millionaires' tax (increase) that would have impacted 16,000 people out of eight million residents in the State of New Jersey and with that it would have had the ability to reduce property taxes by 20 percent," Greenwald said.
Greenwald cited several property tax relief bills that did pass or were posted this legislative session, some without Republican support. They included:
- New Jersey Meadowlands Tax Relief Act (A-3969);
- Demanding Transparency About Property Taxes (A-3223);
- Supporting Local Libraries (A-1314);
- Greater Transparency in School District Spending (A-1499 and A-1817);
- Encouraging Consolidation (A-3006);
- Increasing Transparency About Property Tax Appeals (A-3566);
- Upgrading New Jersey's Crumbling Water Infrastructure (A-4527);
- Rebuilding Atlantic City: Atlantic City Urban Enterprise Zone and Property Tax Relief Act (A-3920) and;
- Casino Property Taxation Stabilization Act (A-3981).
Bramnick said more could and should be done to get a handle on soaring property taxes. He felt lawmakers should be working non-stop at the State House in Trenton.
"We shouldn't leave that building until we do something to help property taxpayers in this state, period," he said.
Every day could be the day things get done and it doesn't have to take place in the State House for the sake of political theatrics, according to Greenwald. He presented a standing offer to Bramnick.
""My door is open. He can come in anytime he wants and share any idea that he has and work on public policy together if he wants," Greenwald said.