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March 19, 2012

Re: LEAGUE PRESIDENT TELLS ASSEMBLY BUDGET COMMITTEE TO RESTORE LOST PROPERTY TAX RELIEF

Dear Mayor:

Today in Newark, League President and Mount Arlington Mayor Art Ondish asked the Assembly Budget Committee, “ … to recognize that the time has come to end local taxpayer subsidies of the State budget. For this year, we ask that you restore at least $271 million and distribute the funding so that every municipality receives the amount that was distributed in the 2010 Fiscal Year.”

Mayor Ondish focused his remarks on the League’s top property tax relief priority for 2012 - the restoration of funding diverted from Energy Taxes intended for local use.  (Click here for Mayor Ondish's Testimony).

The statutes provide for the distribution of all but a fraction of the energy taxes back to local governments. You also know that, despite the statutes, over the years, the State has taken more. From $72 million in State Fiscal Year 2005, to $505 million in State Fiscal Year 2011, the State’s portion of the sales tax on energy and the energy utilities Corporation Business Tax has continued to grow.

“We know that the State has the right to over-ride the statutory dedication of these revenues to local governments due to a court decision,” said Mayor Ondish. “While the State may need such a right to deal with emergencies and crises that may occur, this authority should be restricted to major unanticipated emergencies and crises as the rare exception. However, it has become the rule.

“Instead of being spent on local programs and services and used to offset property taxes, the money has for the past ten years, and for many years before that, been spent as successive Legislatures and Administrations have seen fit. 

“We don’t doubt that it was put to good use and spent on good programs. But they are not the uses intended in the original laws.

“Keeping these funds in the State budget will not fix one road or bridge. It will not put another officer on the street or another fireman on duty. It will not promote modernization of our environmental infrastructure. It will provide no benefit to our local business owners. And it will not promote prudent budgeting, by locally elected and locally accountable municipal officials.”

Please urge your State Legislators to support out call for the restoration of these property tax relief funds for local purposes.

For additional information, visit the League of Municipalities’ Energy Tax Restoration Resource Center at http://www.njslom.org/energy-tax-resource-center.html.  You can also contact Bill Dressel or Jon Moran by phone at 609-695-3481, ext. 122 or ext. 121, or by e-mail at bdressel@njslom.com or jmoran@njslom.com

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

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