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‘Tool Kit’ Analysis Shows Christie Plan Saves Little for Taxpayers

Assembly Budget Chairman Lou Greenwald (D-Camden) released the following statement Tuesday after the Christie administration again failed to detail a viable property tax relief plan:

“Gov. Christie delivered the highest property taxes New Jerseyans have ever seen thanks to last year’s 4.1 percent increase, the highest since 2007, and based on what we heard today, it looks like the administration is in denial and still lacks a viable plan.

“It takes simple math to figure out why property taxes soared last year – the governor cut school aid by $1 billion and municipal aid by $445 million.

“And while we hear about the so-called tool kit, let’s take a look:

– Of 33 proposals, 22 bills were introduced.

– Of the 22 bills, 15 were certified as needing fiscal notes.

– So only two-thirds of the bills even have a fiscal impact, meaning one-third would have absolutely no impact on property taxes.

– Of the 15 bills, fiscal information from the administration was received on three.

– Of these three, one showed state savings of $140,000 annually and indeterminate potential local savings. one showed additional state revenue of $440,000 and one showed additional state costs of up to $331,000.

– Thus, the fiscal information provided by the Christie administration on ‘toolkit’ measures shows a net state savings/revenue increase of up to $288,000.

– OLS did fiscal estimates on three additional bills. Of these, one is cost neutral, one showed indeterminate potential local revenue gains and one showed indeterminate potential state and local costs and an indeterminate potential restraint of growth rate in property tax levies.

“This is hardly the stuff of property tax cuts and major reform.

“During the campaign, the governor steadfastly refused to articulate a real plan for property tax relief. In his first year in office, he cut local aid by $1.5 billion and all but eliminated property tax relief for seniors, the disabled and the middle class.

“The governor has failed to make true property tax relief for working class New Jerseyans a priority and we’re seeing the damage. Gov. Christie is making matters worse with his anti-middle-class policies.”