Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee members Kevin O’Toole (R- Essex/Bergen/Passaic) and Joe Pennacchio (R- Morris/Essex/Passaic) today said that efforts to control the cost of local government are successfully putting the brakes on property tax levy increases in New Jersey.
“Our goal remains to achieve an overall reduction in local tax levies, and we can get bipartisan support for reforming our school funding formula, ending sick leave payouts to public employees, and finishing the rest of the property tax relief toolkit,” said O’Toole. “However, the numbers clearly show we are heading the right direction and increases are slowing. After eight years of total Democratic control in Trenton during which property taxes soared by 60% despite record levels of state spending, property tax levies are leveling off under reforms like Cap 2.0 championed by the Governor and Republicans in the Legislature.”
O’Toole noted that average property tax levy increases of 3.2% under the current Administration are less than half the 6.6% average increase under Governors McGreevey and Codey, and less than the 4.9% average increase under Governor Corzine.
Pennacchio noted that municipalities will save more due to pension and benefits reforms over the next few years than would be achieved by the League of Municipalities’ proposal to the Committee to increase Energy Tax Receipts funding.
“The state cannot spend its way to lower property taxes,” said Pennacchio. “We’ve been successful because our reforms focus on reducing the cost of government at the local level. Pension and benefits reforms will save local governments more than $250 million in this year alone, and is roughly equal to the increase in ETR funding that the League of Municipalities sought at today’s hearing. The levy cap, spending reforms, and DCA’s commitment to holding local officials accountable for the way they spend taxpayer dollars are working. It is time to finish the job by addressing the single largest component of local property taxes- school funding- so that we can truly reduce overall property tax bills.”