Bills Would Provide Overdue Funding to Meadowland Towns in Municipal Tax Sharing Program
(TRENTON) – A two-bill package sponsored by Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese to ensure the state meets its obligation to the Meadowlands towns in the municipal tax-sharing program and provides the funding owed to these municipalities is headed to the governor’s desk.
One measure received final approval today, while the other was approved last week.
“This program is supposed to help these towns offset their inability to build due to environmental restrictions, but for the last two years, it has failed to do so, denying them the property tax relief they were promised and saddling them with budget holes to fill,” said Calabrese (D-Bergen/Passaic). “These municipalities have done their part. They adhered to the rules that we imposed on them. It is now time for the state to keep its end of the bargain.”
The inter-municipal tax sharing program was created to address the inequities created by development restrictions on towns with environmentally sensitive areas in the Meadowlands.
In 2015, the method for funding the program was changed so that municipalities that had the ability to grow and develop in this environmentally sensitive area no longer had to subsidize those who couldn’t. Instead, a three percent hotel use assessment was created to fund the program. If hotel assessment collections fell short, the New Jersey Treasury would have to make up the difference.
Since the change was made, projections have fallen short every year, denying these municipalities the revenue they were promised and leaving them with revenue shortages to fill.
The first bill (A- 4229) would expand the assessment to every hotel located in the municipalities that participate in the Meadowlands revenue sharing program. Currently the assessment only applies to hotels within the Hackensack Meadowlands District.
The second measure, which is included in the Assembly budget bill, would address the shortfalls in the program by authorizing a $4 million appropriation for Meadowlands adjustment payments. Specifically, this would create a new line-item in the budget for payment of arrears owed by the state to the municipal tax-sharing program for 2016 and 2017, and to offset the amount of payment required by the tax-sharing plan that is not raised through the hotel tax.
The first bill (A-4229) was approved today with a 51-24 vote by the Assembly and a 25-9 vote by the Senate. The second measure is included in the budget bill (A-4200), which was approved by both houses last week.