Chairman, New Jersey League of Municipalities Tax Reform Steering Committee
On June 29 Mayor Tarantola told the mayors that the New Jersey League of Municipalities Tax Reform Steering Committee proposes to relieve New Jersey’s property tax burden in a very different manner than the proposed constitutional amendment limiting local budget increases to 2.5%. (the solution described by Marc Pfeiffer from the N.J. Dept. of Community Affairs at last month’s meeting). Tarantola presented a plan to shift school taxes, the largest chunk of many municipal budgets, to the state. Trenton would directly fund school districts through existing revenue sources, and perhaps an income tax surcharge. The state would presumably be able to more equitably allocate resources, negotiate state-wide or regional union contracts, and possibly merge school districts. During the question and answer period, Tarantola said that work remained on the plan, but that he and others on the committee have already outlined the plan to many state leaders, including Education Commissioner Bret Schundler. The NJLM plan would do one thing that the proposed constitutional amendment would not – actually lower property taxes.
Ocean County Mayor Mike Fressola of Manchester is a member of the NJLM Tax Reform Steering Committee.