Assemblyman Calls for More Work and Less Celebrating
Assemblyman John Burzichelli on Thursday corrected Department of Community Affairs officials during an Assembly Budget hearing over misleading statements the Christie administration has been disseminating about property tax bills.
“It’s very easy to mislead the public by saying we’ve had victory. The administration’s comments seem to be celebratory in tone as of late when it comes to property tax bills.
“In actuality, we have the highest property tax bills in New Jersey history at the moment. The growth rate might be stymied, but bills are still the highest property owners have seen.
“New Jersey voters amended the constitution to allow for relief to flow directly to their property tax bills, but for the last two years it has been severely reduced under this administration in favor of other priorities. On top of that the administration cut $445 million from municipal aid in its first year, resulting in a $1.78 billion loss to municipalities over the course of four budgets. Inevitably this trickles down to affect property tax bills because towns have to find the money elsewhere.
“For the homeowner who has seen their rebate credit or check eliminated, their property taxes are, on average, a net 18.6 percent higher since Gov. Christie took office. So the emperor’s not wearing any clothes when he stands up and says property taxes are lower.
“My point is that we have to keep working. The pain is out there and I don’t think we should be celebratory,” said Burzichelli (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem).