Assemblyman Says Redirecting Funds into State Budget Negatively Impacting Property Taxes
(TRENTON) — Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson (D-Mercer) issued a multimedia package Monday on the Assembly Budget Committee’s review of aid distribution from the Energy Tax Receipts Property Tax Relief Fund and how proper distribution could help Hamilton Township taxpayers in Mercer County.
The multimedia package consists of a video of Benson’s comments and audio and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of Assemblyman Benson’s comments is appended below:
Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson (D-Mercer), Assembly Budget Committee member:
“Essentially, in every town you have energy facilities — utility facilities — that, for many, many decades, in lieu of paying property taxes on the equipment and other materials, they’ve been paying monies to the state. And that money gets collected by the state and, in years past, has been returned to the municipalities to cover those costs — indirect aid to the municipality.
“What has occurred in many years is there’s been an amount that’s been skimmed off of that and kept by the state for general fund purposes. But, starting in fiscal year 2011, we’ve seen a major change where there’s an actual diversion of that funding.
“Municipalities did not see an increase, they were being held harmless. [Then] they saw a significant decrease in the aid that is their money being taken by the state budgets over the last couple of years now. And that has resulted in direct property tax increases.
“And so, what we’re hearing now from the mayors is this is their money; this is money that otherwise would be going to the town, notwithstanding the diversion at the state level.
“In Hamilton alone, you’d see an eight-cent tax decrease, with direct property tax relief close to $5 million. And that’s real money.”