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Singleton Decries Christie’s Move to Continue Robbing from Cash-Strapped Towns

Bill Vetoed by Governor Would Have Provided Municipalities with $330M in Additional Property Tax Relief over Next Five Years

(TRENTON) — Assemblyman Troy Singleton on Friday called Governor Christie’s veto of Democratic legislation intended to provide roughly $330 million in additional property tax relief a misguided move that will continue robbing municipalities of their fair share of state energy tax revenues and municipal aid.

Singleton was the lead sponsor of the bill (A-2921) Christie vetoed, which was also sponsored by Assemblymen John Burzichelli, Gary Schaer, Wayne DeAngelo, Albert Coutinho, Daniel Benson and Vincent Prieto.

“Since this revenue was first raided several years ago, the property tax crisis has steadily worsened, with homeowners seeing a 20 percent net increase in property taxes since 2009. Every dollar that has been taken from our towns was an additional dollar taken from property taxpayers, which means decreased services and less value to residents.

“Towns up and down the state have been struggling to stay within the new two percent property tax cap. This legislation was designed to protect taxpayers by requiring the revenue municipalities would receive to be applied towards property tax relief. To continue robbing them of this deserved revenue is a misguided move on the part of the Governor,” said Singleton (D-Burlington).

The bill would have restored the cuts made to the Consolidated Municipal Property Tax Relief Aid (CMPTRA) program and the Energy Tax Receipts (ETR) Property Tax Relief Aid program in fiscal years 2009, 2010 and 2011. The funds would be provided over a five-year span, with the first payment coming in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2013 when municipalities would receive an aid increase equal to 20% of the difference between their total payment of CMPTRA and ETR in Fiscal Year 2008 and Fiscal Year 2012.

Municipalities would have received equal increases in each of the following four fiscal years. The fully restored amount would have been distributed beginning in State Fiscal Year 2017 and in each fiscal year thereafter. The returned energy tax revenues would have been statutorily dedicated to property tax relief, and municipalities would still be subject to the state’s current two percent property tax cap.