Can Governments Tax Each Other’s Property?

New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the nation and one small reason is that so much property here is tax exempt, purportedly because it is being used for the public good.  But what happens when that property is owned by a government and is clearly being operated for private gain?*  That situation hits home this month.

Union County built the Galloping Hill Clubhouse in Kenilworth primarily to provide work to campaign supporters and to lure the New Jersey State Golf Association.  The banquet center and restaurant will be a Democratic hangout.  The building is a massive money-loser for county taxpayers but it will keep political donors employed and political elite entertained.

Kenilworth is looking to collect $120,000 in taxes annually from the county on the property and the county is appealing, though the freeholders never approved any resolution to do so by the December 2 deadline:

With an economic interest in the outcome my opinion is biased so I leave it to you. What do you out there think? Can Kenilworth collect taxes from Union County for Galloping Hill? If not then under what circumstances would a municipality be able to tax property within its borders owned by a county, a state, or even the federal government?
* Though some may say that most government is operated for private gain and any public benefits are ancillary to providing campaign workers with jobs, pensions, and health benefits.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Galloping Hill is a benefit as is!
    Better than developing it, adding more teachers, police, etc to service increased population.
    Better yet, replace cruel, regressive property tax for schools with State very progressive income tax….?


  2. Posted by bpaterson on December 9, 2013 at 10:59 am

    from the union county watchdog’s local investigative journalism has proven, union county govt is not a govt at all, but a self serving, self dealing, friends and family criminal enterprise. If they are not all arrested and locked up by year end, then of course they can be taxed. Think Al Capone.

    For more of their scurrilous antics, visit the watchdog site:


    • Posted by Anonymous on December 10, 2013 at 12:06 am

      And why is everyone powerless to have them locked up? Seems like the watchdog group has uncovered enough that it should be brought to the attention of the AG


      • Posted by Tough Love on December 10, 2013 at 12:36 am

        AG is to entrenched in NJ politics and likely afraid of stepping of the toes of the well-connected.

        It would have to be the US Attorney’s office.


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