America’s Highest Property Taxes

When Christie became governor, New Jersey had the highest property taxes in the nation. Even if he were to serve two terms, we could still count on our state keeping that crown.

The reason: spending. New Jersey splurges more than any other state on K-12 education, has more police per capita than any other state, and  uses home rule as an excuse for  jamming five hundred and sixty-six municipalities, five hundred ninety-one school districts and various independent authorities into an area only 166 miles long and 65 miles wide.

Christie has succeeded in helping tighten the belt on spending with a property tax cap, pension and benefit reforms and new arbitration law. After decreasing municipal aid, towns are being forced now to consider some much-needed, cost-cutting regionalization measures, such as Somerset County, which could soon shrink nineteen of its local police departments into three regional police forces.

All of which is helpful..

But even if property taxes were sizably reduced, in order to fill the gap other taxes would need to be increased, such as income tax and sales tax. New Jersey depends so heavily on property taxes to pay its bills that spending cuts alone won’t do the job. To reduce the property tax, Trenton would have to raise state taxes and shoulder a larger portion of local costs.

Fact is, New Jersey is second only to New Hampshire in having a property tax that is higher than state income, corporate taxes and sales taxes combined. In 2011, New Jerseyan’s paid a total of $21 billion in corporate and sales tax — and a whopping $25.8 billion in property taxes to support their schools districts and municipal and county governments.  

A tax system is generally considered good when income, sales and property taxes are in rough balance such that each provides somewhere between 30 percent and 40 percent of the entire revenue — which is the case in most states.

In New Jersey, however, property taxes alone makes up to 58 percent of the income/property/sales tax pie, with income tax just 24 percent and sales taxes the remaining 18 percent of the revenue.

The only workaround to lower the property taxes in New Jersey to a reasonable and competitive level with other states is to transfer K-12 education or municipal or county services, worth billions of dollars, to another major tax or taxes with the income and sales taxes being the most prominent choices along with devising an effective cap that prevents any new increase in school district and local government expenditure. This was Jim Florio’s vision in 1990 when he dedicated half of the $2.8 billion tax package to property tax rebate, though the majority of the money was rapidly consumed by school districts and municipalities for new expenses — and by the second year the property taxes were skyrocketing again.

Voter renunciation of Florio led to the election of a Republican legislature and GOP government Christie Whitman, and frightened politicians in both the parties away from any substantive effort for overall tax reform. Ever since then there have been a periodic calls for a constitutional convention to inspect and repair the New Jersey's tax system, but it was made clear in Christie campaign that any effort to raise any new tax will be opposed.

Steve Lonegan's proposal to substitute the states graduated income tax with flat 2.9 percent tax was acutely criticized by Christie because it would raise the tax on some citizens. He also rejected independent Chris Daggett's proposal to raise sales taxes by $4 billion to reduce the property, income and corporate taxes by $5.4 billion a net reduce of $1.4 billion as “$4 billion tax hike”.

Christie also sternly ruled out an increase in gas tax which is the third-lowest in the country and rather reinstated the Transportation Trust Fund with funds from the ARC rail tunnel project which he shut down.  

In reality reducing property taxes would require a solid multibillion-dollar tax alteration, and the Democrats didn’t have the guts to do it when they controlled the Statehouse. And it’s not likely that Christie will be the governor to undertake the needed renovation though he’ll go as far as he can on tax cuts.

But his unchanging opposition to state tax hikes will mean that New Jersey will continually have the highest property taxes in the nation. Christie might slow the growth of the property tax, but he cannot kill it.  And it’s uncertain at this point anyone truly can.   


Here are some other tax appeal sites I found for you to browse. Thanks for visiting njpropertytaxappeal.net.

America's Highest Property Taxes
America's Highest Property Taxes
Darren Young - Property Taxes - NJ-7 debate - YouTube
Mercer County NJ | Appeal Instruction and Application
Homeowners balk as property tax bills stay high - USATODAY.com
Why are property taxes so high in NJ? - Yahoo! Answers
Melissa Jenkins (CentralNJHomes) on Twitter


email

Similar Articles

Assessing Your Assessemen... Fair to say,  if you are living in New Jersey, you are probably paying more property taxes than you should. The National Taxpayers Union, in fact, estimates
“Extraordinary̶... From Registry News: Following a public hearing, an ordinance authorizing an emergency appropriation to update revaluations of property within the township, was approved unanimously by the Township
Comparables As “Ar...   Homeowners I find will often make the often fatal mistake of using distressed sales as comparables, assuming this is allowable. What needs to be understood is
Should You Represent Your...   While presenting tax appeal seminars over the past several years, I am repeatedly asked the question of whether someone needs an attorney to file a tax
Westfield Realtor Offers ...   From PR News: In 2012, according to the Department of Treasury’s Division of Taxation, more than 90,000 residential tax appeals were filed in New Jersey —
Change Underway For NJ P... From New Jersey 101.5: Tax Appeal Calendar in NJ Would PropertyMove Under…via Property Tax Appeal Calendar in NJ Would … – New Jersey 101.5   Here are
Legislation Would Advise ...   From: NJ Spotlight Letting Property Owners Know They Can Challenge Annual Tax Assessments NJ Spotlight The push to raise awareness for property tax appeals comes as
Tax Appeals In New Provid... From The Independent Press: Among the issues the New Providence Borough Council discussed at its June 25 meeting was a multi-million dollar reassessment of a property in
Tax Appeals Impact South ...     South Brunswick Tax Appeals Continue to Rise Patch.com Nearly 400 tax appeals filed as township looks for ways to mitigate impact on the budget. By
Opt-Out For Towns Using P...   Asbury Park Press Monmouth Tax Board: Towns can opt out of pilot program Asbury Park Press For towns that stay in the pilot program, the Tax
NJ Property Taxes’ ... From Tax Foundation: States with high population density, like New Jersey or Connecticut, often face a dilemma concerning how to reconcile the tradeoff between necessary urban density