8.31% County Tax Increase and Who’s To Blame

This week or next everyone in New Jersey should get their new property tax bill (I got mine) and go through the annual ritual of wondering how a 2% property tax cap translates into a 5.82% increase (8.31% for the county).  It boils down to three reasons and four culprits:

  1. The big items (pensions, debt, health insurance) are mostly exempt from the cap
  2. Property values have gone down and if your property wasn’t one of those whose value wasn’t removed or reduced on the tax rolls then you are picking up the slack
  3. New Jersey local governments need not follow GAAP rules so they play games with surplus and non-budget revenue.  Union County has a particularly duplicitous scam going on where they misappropriate taxes that are supposed to be used to acquire Open Space for their regular budget thus ‘creating’ an extra $7 million to maintain bloated spending.

And who’s to blame in New Jersey:

  1. Campaign Donors who run government primarily for the fees generated to them
  2. Local government officials who, unlike professional politicians, are close to the people and relate more to the taxpayer than to the Democratic Committee chairperson who got herself a cushy job with a multi-million-dollar pension and lifetime healthcare attached in return for keeping the gravy train fueled for those in the first group above.
  3. Chris Christie – Mostly bluster with no results that matter.
  4. You – everyone else on this list can justify their actions (or inactions).  How about you?

6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tough Love on July 11, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Christie originally wanted the cap to INCLUDE Public Sector pensions and benefits (but I believe at 2.5% vs the final 2% level). When they were excluded in the final version, I knew the cap would have minimal impact.

    Had they been left in, THAT would have been very significant, because maintaining the current pensions & benefits would have crowded out almost all other discretionary expenditures …. and clearly focused the light on how excessive these pensions & benefits are.

    A great opportunity was missed in Christie not standing his ground.


  2. Posted by Javagold on July 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    The 2% Cap, has more holes in it, than Christie has holes stapled in his stomach ……. It is a FRAUD !!!!!


  3. Posted by Tough Love on July 11, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Java, It’s not a complete fraud as it HAS helped keep other municipal cost increases (mainly salaries) down, but … as I’ve said 100s of time, the big nut is ending the DB plans for all CURRENT workers, or if not possibly (AFTER trying all possible ways to do so) at least halving the pension accrual rate for future Service of CURRENT workers.

    Too bad our politicians don’t have the guts to confront the greedy Unions … and as they put it addressing it, NJ spirals down the drain. The pension (AND retiree healthcare) problem is NOT going away … it gets worse every day.


  4. Posted by Javagold on July 11, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    like Bernanke….There wil be NO taper……There will be NO pension reform……SO it is print and take as much as they can UNTIL …………..IT ENDS…… in an instant


    • Posted by Tough Love on July 11, 2013 at 5:38 pm

      Java, Picture what that “end” will look like …… envision 1000+ police officers with arms crossed over their chests says …”Pay the F— up !”


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