Senator Anthony Bucco, the Senate’s Republican Budget Officer, will soon submit legislation to limit the authority of municipalities to impose fees for emergency services.
The move comes in response to a NJ 101.5 FM report that several municipalities in the state are considering increasing or imposing new charges on residents when police, fire, or EMS personnel are called to respond to an emergent situation.
“Residents already pay fees for emergency services, they’re called property taxes,” said Bucco (R- Morris). “If the highest property taxes in America aren’t enough to support basic public safety and emergency services, then there is something severely wrong with our spending priorities as a state.”
Bucco is working with legislative staff to study the laws of other states and propose a statute limiting the amounts that could be charged and/or under what circumstances. New Jersey is one of 26 states that currently permits such “user fees” for public safety.
The Senator hopes to submit a proposal to the Senate at its next full meeting.
“It adds insult to injury to ask someone whose house caught fire or who was the victim of a crime to cough up more money in addition to the taxes they pay,” Bucco continued. “This is just another reason that we need to give local governments every conceivable tool to cut costs and make government work more efficiently. Charging people for a basic service in their hour of need is just more proof that the size and cost of government have gotten out of control.”