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Connors, Rumpf & Gove on State Investigation of Towns for Violating State Property Tax Laws

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Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove of the 9th Legislative District remarked on the New Jersey Department of Treasury’s announcement that it will be conducting an investigation into municipalities which have been found to be “dramatically out of compliance” with required property tax assessments:

Connors, Rumpf and Gove respond to investigations of New Jersey towns that are ‘dramatically out of compliance’ with required property tax assessments. (SenateNJ.com)

“For decades, three municipalities in our state have been playing by their own set of rules by refusing to perform property reassessments while the rest of us have been required to pay their property taxes based on the current value of their homes.

“Property assessments and revaluations are politically unpopular and dreaded by both taxpayers and local officials. Neither wants to see property tax increases for homeowners. Moreover, the costs of performing the assessments can be expensive and the process arduous. Municipalities in our legislative district such as Little Egg Harbor, Lacey, Barnegat and Galloway have all gone through this difficult process over the last several years.

“While the overwhelming majority of municipalities have lived up to their constitutional and statutory obligations, the state Treasury Department recently exposed Jersey City, Elizabeth and Dunellen as having failed to uniformly and fairly assess properties. According to the Department, Jersey City has not conducted a revaluation or reassessment in 27 years; Elizabeth has not updated its assessments in 39 years; and Dunellen has not conducted a revaluation or reassessment in 33 years.

“This blatant disregard for both the law and the basic principle of fairness in taxation is indefensible and serves only to further undermine the people’s confidence in the state’s system of property taxation. Taxpayers living in municipalities that have regular assessments and revaluations have every right to be outraged by this.

“Why should taxpayers whose assessments are up-to-date pay more while privileged taxpayers living in Jersey City, Elizabeth and Dunellen get away with paying less? Why have these municipalities been given a free pass for so long? What incentive is there for other municipalities to comply with property tax assessment requirements?

“Jersey City and Elizabeth are special needs districts, formerly known as Abbotts, and thus are recipients of a windfall of state education aid. Evidently, neither feels obligated to comply with the state’s property tax assessment laws. But, apparently, that hasn’t stopped these municipalities from feeling entitled to the tax dollars of residents living in other municipalities.

“Under the state’s broken and politically-driven school funding formula, large numbers of taxpayers living in suburban and rural areas are forced to subsidize special needs school districts, even if these residents can’t even afford to pay the taxes for their own local schools. So not only are Jersey City and Elizabeth making out by ignoring property tax assessments, but they are also cashing in when it comes to state education aid.

“An investigation is being opened by the state into the lack of compliance by Jersey City, Elizabeth and Dunellen. Certainly, the rights of taxpayers who are in compliance with the law should be respected. Let’s see where the investigation goes.”

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The 9th District Team

Chris Connors

Senator - District 9

Brian Rumpf

Assemblyman - District 9

DiAnne Gove

Assemblywoman - District 9

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