The bill, although not bad in concept, is a miserable band-aid on the gaping wound that property taxes open on family budgets. And among the most vulnerable and often financially stressed households, those led by seniors are at the forefront.
The reality is that seniors in New Jersey are often forced from their homes by property taxes that surpass – and outlive – their mortgages. Unlike mortgages, which eventually are paid off, property taxes never go away and continue to increase year after year. If we add the actual direct increase in property taxes during the first two years of the Christie administration and the indirect increases caused by the elimination of the State property tax rebates, we arrive at the massive increase of 20% in 2 years. That is scandalous and it has had the effect of pushing numerous seniors out of their homes, or at the very least under the poverty line – in terms of disposable income.
Then governor Christie has the nerve to climb on a podium and claim that he has balanced two consecutive budgets without increasing taxes!
The most effective way of helping all New Jersey seniors to remain in their homes is by abolishing property taxes for the primary residence of all New Jersey taxpayers. I will be the only gubernatorial candidate who will propose such a reform of our tax system in 2013. The elimination of property taxes for most will also have the desirable effect of raising property values and increasing demand for homes. Property taxes are suffocating our economy,
Simultaneously, I offer a well thought and balanced alternative to fund education and municipal governments. Local services would not be touched. County governments would be abolished although many of their departments and their schools would remain. County governments account for over 20% of the total property tax levy in New Jersey. A large portion of that money goes toward consulting and brokerage firms which in turn are heavy contributors to election campaigns. That is one of the pillars of political control.
These changes I propose would involve one or more amendments to the State Constitution and would undoubtedly meet strong resistance in the New Jersey Legislature.