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(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Fred Scalera, John Burzichelli and John McKeon targeting unfunded state mandates in the ongoing effort to control property taxes received final legislative approval on Monday.
The bill (A-3204) was approved 75-0 by the Assembly on Sept. 30 and 36-0 by the Senate on Monday. It now goes to the governor.
It’s among more than 20 property tax reform measures advanced by the Assembly this year. This bill would allow more groups to file complaints with the Council on Local Mandates.
“This is a sensible step toward a more affordable New Jersey,” said Scalera, who authored the bill as part of the ongoing Assembly Democratic property tax reform efforts. “Allowing more groups to challenge these mandates will lead to a more accountable system that hopefully will lead the state to think twice about the cost of some of these costly regulations. That can only help keep property taxes in check.”
“All too often we’ve seen unfunded state mandates drive up property taxes on already overburdened taxpayers,” said Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem). “The Council on Local Mandates is a viable place to go to seek relief, but the current system is unworkable for too many municipalities that cannot afford a challenge. This is a smart change.”
“The current system has proven unwieldy and often led to municipalities choosing not to file challenges because it’s simply too costly to go it alone,” said McKeon (D-Essex), who has been reviewing unfunded state mandates under the direction of Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic). “Allowing more parties to file challenges will help provide a strong check against unfunded state mandates, hopefully keeping local government costs and property taxes under control. Quite simply, this is a commonsense change.”
The bill would allow the New Jersey Conference of Mayors, the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, the New Jersey School Boards Association, the New Jersey Association of Counties, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, the New Jersey Association of Fire Districts, the New Jersey Career Fire Chiefs Association, the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police and the New Jersey First Aid Council to file a complaint with the Council on Local Mandates concerning a potential unfunded mandate.
“Unfunded mandates and unnecessary regulations have helped shove New Jersey property taxes to unacceptable levels,” McKeon said. “With these types of changes, we will bring real savings to property taxpayers without spending a dime, simply by easing mandates that no longer serve a purpose or are simply too burdensome.”