New Report Examines Why Significant Property Tax Reform Has Been Out of Reach in New Jersey

Contact: Jon Whiten, of 609-393-1145 ext. 15

Despite having been one of the top issues affecting New Jerseyans for several decades, attempts by New Jersey’s leaders to relieve the burden of property taxes have done little to change the fact that property taxes remain the most regressive taxes in New Jersey – in other words, they have the largest negative impact on those with the least resources.

A new report released today by New Jersey Policy Perspective examines some of the reasons why that’s the case, using the New Jersey State League of Municipalities’ recent proposal to remake the property tax structure as an illustrative example. The report, authored by NJPP Budget & Tax Analyst David Rousseau, a former state treasurer, analyzes the impact of the League’s plan on New Jerseyans of all stripes, and puts it in the larger context of the difficulty in crafting property tax reform that is fair and significant without draining the state’s coffers of sorely-needed revenue.

“For four decades, candidates have promised New Jersey homeowners property tax relief,” says NJPP President Gordon MacInnes. “And for just as long, property tax bills have risen to crush the budgets of families least able to afford them. David Rousseau’s analysis of the League’s proposal sheds light on why real property tax reform has been out of reach and offers a sensible option that helps homeowners most in need.”

The report suggests that property tax reform would best be accomplished by a “circuit breaker” to provide relief only to those who are most in need – homeowners with property tax burdens that exceed a set percentage of their income – and includes nine key criteria that should be met by any circuit breaker.

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