15th DISTRICT DELEGATION FIGHTS FOR TRENTON AID

Legislators Submit Budget Resolutions to Provide Payment-In-Lieu-of-Taxes

With three weeks remaining before the state budget deadline, Senator Shirley K. Turner and Assembly members Reed Gusciora and Bonnie Watson Coleman today called on the state to make a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes to the capital city, submitting formal legislative budget resolutions to force the PILOT.

Currently, the state provides no compensation to Trenton, which has the highest number of property tax-exempt buildings of any municipality in New Jersey, with roughly 53 percent of the city’s property being state-owned.

“Quite frankly, the state is Trenton’s largest delinquent property taxpayer,” said Turner (D-Lawrence). “Not only does the state own a significant amount of Trenton’s best real estate, but the daily influx of thousands of employees and tourists puts even greater strains on public safety and infrastructure. It is only fair for Trenton to be at least partially reimbursed for the costs it bears as the seat of state government.”

“The fact remains that Trenton is host to the Capitol Complex and many associated buildings that are situated on tax-exempt properties,” Gusciora (D-Trenton) said. “It is unfair to expect residents of this municipality to shoulder the burden of costs associated from workers using the roadways, police protection, and the like.”

“Cities like Trenton can’t survive enormous budget cuts, when the biggest property owner in the city is exempt from paying taxes,” said Watson Coleman (D-Ewing). “Much of the aid Trenton has seen in the past is not a hand out, but fair compensation for the fact that half of the land in the city is state-owned and tax exempt.”

The capital city’s tax-exempt buildings include: the Department of Banking and Insurance, Children and Families, Community Affairs, Education, Environmental Protection, Health and Senior Services, Human Services, Labor and Workforce Development, as well as the State House, the War Memorial, and the New Jersey State Museum. In addition, the state owns several large surface parking lots, which also are tax-exempt.

“It is unconscionable for the Governor to pull PILOT from this town. Some of Trenton’s poorest residents will be seeing am enormous increase in their property taxes, with no relief in aid,” continued Gusciora. “This payment is imperative for the City’s financial well being. It is a tough time, but while we are all sacrificing, the state must contribute its fair share to this community that hosts a substantial part of government services for the state.”

“Trenton has already been forced to make massive cuts in essential services like police, fire and seniors programs to accommodate for the Governor’s cuts in aid last year,” added Watson Coleman. “When the state shirks its responsibility to our capital city, it unduly burdens the other residents and businesses who are forced to shoulder the entirety of the tax levy.”