Opinion: Cut Your NJ Property Tax Bill Like Trump Does — Raise Goats
Under NJ’s farmland assessment act, it only takes a handful of farm animals to slash your property tax bill by tens of thousands of dollars.
Many of us have heard of neighbors who pay $900 in property taxes instead of $9,000 (or more) because this law forgives a huge chunk of your property tax bill as long as you make a few bucks farming almost anything — goats, sheep, horses, hay, even cord wood.
Today, Kevin Corbett, who earns $281,000 as president and CEO of NJ Transit, pays just $900 a YEAR on the 5 1/2 acres of his sprawling Mendham property that have been designated as a farm where he raises sheep, the New Jersey Globe first reported. Of course that’s not the WHOLE bill. There’s a portion of his property that’s taxed just like everyone else’s (read: Non-farmers).
As a comparison, former Gov. Chris Christie, who lives on the same street in Mendham as Corbett and has an almost identically sized lot, has a property tax bill that’s more than double that of the transit chief, according to the report.
It’s kind of a slippery slope, this farmland assessment act. The law was passed in 1964 and was intended to foster the use of land for agricultural and/or horticultural purposes. It has come under fire many times over the years for being way too easy to abuse.
For instance, here’s a partial list of elected officials who took advantage of the enormous savings that “farming” can earn you in NJ. And the legitimacy of all of their part-time farming activities have been at least questioned by political opponents if not officially investigated (all were also cited in the Globe report).
- Former Rep Jon Runyan (R-MT Laurel) sold firewood and grazed donkeys
- Rep Scott Garrett (R-Wantage) whose BROTHER farmed Christmas trees.
- State senator Ellen Karcher (D-Marlboro) had a Christmas tree and cord wood farm
- Former Gov. Christie Whitman sold firewood to friends and family to get her break.
- Perhaps the most powerful farmer of all, Donald Trump, who gets a property tax break to the tune of around $88,000 at his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster by farming goats according to an article in the Huffington Post.
The total of goats in Trump’s flock?
I’m not great at math, but to me, that works out to $11,000 a goat. I’m seriously thinking about getting into this line as a side hustle. And I won’t even have to work that hard: One goat would work out just fine for me.