WAGNER BILL PROTECTING BUSINESSES FROM PROPERTY TAX INCREASES AFTER MUNICIPAL CONSOLIDATION ADVANCES

Measure Stems from Attempts to Consolidate Borough of Teterboro

(TRENTON) — Legislation Assemblywoman Connie Wagner sponsored to offer businesses in consolidated municipalities the same property tax protections afforded to residential properties was released 5 to 2 Thursday by the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.

Wagner introduced the legislation (A-3539) after the most recent attempt to disband the 1.1-square-mile community of Teterboro, which has approximately 25 residents, stalled due to concerns from business owners and tenants that property tax rates would skyrocket post-consolidation.

“If we cannot find a sensible way to consolidate a tiny place with a handful of residents, like Teterboro, then we have little hope of promoting local government efficiency throughout the rest of the state,” said Wagner (D-Bergen). “By helping to mitigate the fiscal shock of shifting property taxes post-consolidation, we move one step closer to a sensible, viable means of municipal consolidation.”

Under Wagner’s bill, following a municipal consolidation under the state’s Municipal Consolidation Act, property tax relief identical to that provided to the owners of residential properties would be given to the owners of, or tenants operating, non-residential property.

The property tax relief would appear as an adjustment on the business’ tax bill in an amount equal to the difference between the taxes assessed on the property by the newly consolidated municipality and the taxes assessed on the property in the last tax year prior to the consolidation. The relief would be adjusted annually, in proportion to the increase or decrease in the consumer price index.

“While we must protect the bottom line of New Jersey residents, we cannot do so at the expense of our business community,” said Wagner. “This bill would ensure both groups receive equal property tax protections under the law after a consolidation occurs.”

The measure now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for further review.