Bill Would Provide Annual State Expenditure to Help Offset Local Taxes
Home to multiple tax-exempt properties owned and operated by the State, Trenton is in a unique position as the State Capital. Legislation Assembly Democrats Verlina Reynolds-Jackson and Anthony Verrelli (Both D-Mercer, Hunterdon) sponsored to reinstate funding the city received annually from the state to offset costs for tax-exempt properties was approved 51-24-2 in the Assembly on Thursday.
“Between 2004 and 2010, Trenton received additional State aid for serving as home to the State Capitol and for the significant amount of State-owned real property located in the city that is tax exempt,” said Reynolds-Jackson. “Trenton taxpayers for far too long have absorbed the costs of these properties. The Trenton Capital City Aid, once given, helped alleviate the burden on residents and was an integral part of helping to balance the city budget year after year.”
The bill (A-5210) specifically establishes the Trenton Capital City Program to provide $10 million in each fiscal year to the City of Trenton to relieve budgetary stress resulting from the property exempt status of state property in the city.
“Trenton’s property taxpayers pay for police, fire, sanitation, and public works services— all of which help to maintain public health and safety in the capital city,” said Verrelli. “The additional funding would be the State’s way of pitching in to take care of the city that takes care of them and the many properties benefitting from tax-exempt status.”
The Trenton Capital City Aid Program funds will be used solely for and exclusively by the city for the purpose of reducing the amount the city is required to raise through its property tax levy for municipal purposes. If the amount of funds received by the city in any year exceeds the amount required to be raised through property taxes, the remaining balance of the State aid payment will be allocated in equal parts to Mercer County and The Trenton School District to be used to reduce property taxes for county and city schools.
The bill would also appropriate additional funding from the Property Tax Relief Fund to the Department of Community Affairs for the Trenton Capital City Aid Program.
Having cleared both houses, the measure now goes to the Governor’s desk for consideration.