Size Doesn’t Matter — Study of NJ Municipal Government Costs Concludes

What do Alpine and Harding, two of the state’s wealthiest enclaves, have in common with Newark, Camden and Trenton, three of New Jersey’s largest and poorest cities? All five spend more than $2,000 per person on municipal government services — 50 percent more than the average for the state’s 513 nonresort communities, Raphael J. Caprio and…

Posted: November 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: New Jersey, Property Taxes | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Opinion: For Gov. Chris Christie, October’s Been the Cruelest Month


repost-us-image-13906378Carl Golden In his 1922 epic poem “The Waste Land,” English poet, essayist, and playwright T. S. Eliot opened with the line “April is the cruelest month … ” For Gov. Christie, though, it’s October. This October. Consider: + For the first time in four years, more poll respondents hold an unfavorable view of him, 45… Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: 2016 Presidential Politics, Chris Christie, Christie Administration, New Jersey, New Jersey State Budget, Opinion | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Casino closings wipe $2B from Atlantic City property-tax values

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Posted: August 26th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Atlantic City, Atlantic County, News | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off

NJ Property Owners Filed Tax Appeals Last Year at Near-Record Pace

NJ Property Owners Filed Tax Appeals Last Year at Near-Record Pace (via NJSpotlight)

As New Jersey’s economy and housing market struggled to recover from the recession in 2013, property owners filed a near-record of more than 100,000 tax appeals, winning an average reduction of $40,093 in assessed valuation and a proportionate tax cut…

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Posted: May 26th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: New Jersey, Property Taxes | Tags: , | 1 Comment »

Beck’s veterans property tax benefits expansion gains traction in Senate

Beck’s veterans property tax benefits expansion gains traction in Senate (via NJ.com)

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Beck that would make veterans living in retirement and long-term care communities eligible for a state veterans property tax deduction and a tax exemption intended for disabled veterans cleared its Senate committee…

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Posted: May 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Jennifer Beck, NJ State Legislature, Property Taxes, Veterans | Tags: , , | Comments Off

Extend Key Property Tax Reform – Earn the Respect We Claim to Seek.

By Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon

declan-oscanlon-budgetWhen Gov. Christie came to office in 2010, he took action to address the biggest problem New Jerseyans have faced for decades – property taxes. Working with the Legislature, historic tax reforms were signed into law. These included a two percent limit on property tax levies, increased health and pension contributions by public employees and a two percent cap on awards arbitrators can grant when towns and their unions can’t agree on a contract.

These cost control tools are working. Recent property tax data shows the average property tax bill grew by 1.7 percent in 2013 and by the lowest consistent rate in decades since the reforms were passed. While our ultimate goal is to actually cut property taxes, slowing their growth is an essential first step.

The clock is now counting down to the destruction of the delicate framework that has successfully controlled our property taxes.  An essential component of that framework – the arbitration award cap which enables local officials to control their largest costs – expired on April 1 of this year.  The first contracts exempt from the cap will expire in June. That will be a disaster for property taxpayers throughout New Jersey. Without an honest and effective arbitration award cap, the property tax cap will fail.

The state’s interest arbitration cap law is one of the primary reasons we have turned the tide on the escalation of property taxes. According to the Public Employment Relations Commission, from January 2011 (when the arbitration law took effect) to September 2013, average raises in local contracts, whether through arbitration or negotiations, were 1.86 percent — the lowest in at least 20 years.

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Posted: May 4th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Declan O'Scanlon, NJ State Legislature, Property Tax Tool Kit, Property Taxes | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Christie and Prieto negotiating over renewal of key NJ property tax law

Christie and Prieto negotiating over renewal of key NJ property tax law (via NJ.com)

TRENTON — State Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto is negotiating with Gov. Chris Christie on renewing of a law that limits raises to some police and firefighters to help curtail property tax increases. “I am in conversations with the governor and…

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Posted: April 22nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Property Tax Tool Kit, Property Taxes | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

Christie calls on Prieto to renew key NJ property tax law

Christie calls on Prieto to renew key NJ property tax law (via NJ.com)

TRENTON — After spending months combating scandal, Gov. Chris Christie today returned to a familiar setting and an old target: standing in front of dozens of supporters to pressure the state Assembly to pass a key bill. Backed by dozens of county…

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Posted: April 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Property Tax Tool Kit, Property Taxes | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

O’Scanlon Calls On Towns To File For Arbitration Before April 1

DeclanWith one business day to go prior to the expiration of the Interest Arbitration Award Cap that has saved New Jersey property tax payers millions of dollars over the last 3 years, and with no sign that Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto is going to call the General Assembly back into session to vote on concurring with Governor Chris Chrisite’s conditional veto of legislation to extend the cap, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth, the Republican Assembly Budget Officer, is calling on every New Jersey municipality with an expired police or firefighters contract to file for arbitration on Monday so their new contract will fall within the 2% parameter of the existing cap.

“It is quite frankly heart breaking to me that the leadership of my house, all of who are my friends, are leading New Jersey property tax payers off a cliff,” O’Scanlon said, “I fully expected to hear by the end of the day today that we would be brought back to Trenton on Monday to vote to affirm the Governor’s conditional veto of the arbitration award cap legislation which was overwhelmingly passed on a bipartisan measure by the apparently much more responsible New Jersey State Senate.

“Since the clock is counting down to the expiration of the previous law and the Assembly leadership seems to care more about pandering to special interest than the property tax payers of New Jersey I now feel compelled to take action assuming we’ll face the worst case scenario. In order to most comprehensively guard themselves against potential frivolous, but costly none the less, litigation any municipality that has an expired contract, but that has not yet filed for arbitration, should do so immediately – before the April 1 expiration of the previous law.

“It is extremely unfortunate that the Assembly Democrat leadership would act to threaten the welfare of New Jersey property tax payers, but that is apparently the reality.”

 

Pass this post on to your municipal officials.

Posted: March 28th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: NJ State Legislature, Property Tax Tool Kit, Property Taxes | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Still Hope For Property Tax Cap

The ball is in the Assembly’s court

Both the State Senate and General Assembly passed the bill that would blow a hole in municipal budgets for the next four years, the “extension” of the 2% Interest Arbitration Cap for police and firefighters base salaries that did not really cap those salaries.  Had the bill become law, there would have been a massive cut in municipal services throughout New Jersey or property taxes would have started rising again at levels we experienced during the Corzine/Codey/McGreevey administrations.

But Governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoed the bill and the Senate quickly concurred with the changes he made to the bill which kept the cap intact through December 2017 by a vote of 33-1.   Christie’s office announced the conditional veto and the Senate’s concurrence in the same press release.

One has to wonder why the Senate went through the exercise of passing the “bad bill” in the first place, by a vote of 28-7, only to abandon the changes it made to the existing Interest Arbitration Cap and, for the most part, extend the existing law for another four years, so quickly.   Without the Senate’s concurrence to Christie’s conditional veto, the cap on arbitration awards would expire on April 1st.  Either the “bad bill” or the expiration of the cap would have been a victory for the Trenton Democrats benefactors in the police and firefighters unions.

The unions may still have their victory.  Before the Assembly could take a vote on concurring with Christie’s conditional veto, Speaker Vincent Prieto abruptly adjourned the session.   No Assembly session has been scheduled, yet, to take up the concurrence prior to April 1.

Below is a video of Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon’s floor speak before the chamber voted on the “bad bill.”   As usual, O’Scanlon makes is case and fights for New Jersey taxpayers very well.

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Posted: March 28th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Declan O'Scanlon, NJ State Legislature, Property Tax Tool Kit, Property Taxes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »