To be able to reform our tax system we must reform government itself: We must give a good haircut at the top.
I did my tax appeal in 2010 and settled without going to the tax court. It means that I probably got a bit less of a reduction in the valuation on my home but got it earlier as proceeding to the court would have taken a while. The County Board of Taxation (CBT) used arguments like “the land never goes down in value” which is completely nonsensical. It was really a kangaroo hearing but I got a reduction because they sensed I could go on to court. I could live with the reduction I got and left. As it happened, I was preparing the initial steps of this challenge of running for office.
The prospects of being involved in the side show of the tax court was out of the question. I had to do with what I got at the CBT.
The assessors are given a tremendous leeway with the statutory ability to exclude sales that are considered “distressed” from the price comparison. They are marked with the #26 in the code box of the sales recordings at the CBT. The list of similar properties and their final sale prices are the basis for the entire appeal. By eliminating the lowest priced sales, the assessors, as agents of the municipalities, essentially deprive homeowners of their right to conduct a successful appeal or at the very least they make it as difficult as possible. When one goes to the CBT office and searches for comparable properties, more than half of the listed are labeled code 26.
So, property taxes for New Jersey taxpayers have to go. They are driving people out of their homes. One never gets to really own one’s property. The drag on the economy is horrendous. The different forms of taxation in New Jersey allow for a shell game that politicians have been playing to perpetuate themselves in office for decades.
In the end, when we add property taxes to all the other taxes we pay, the two political parties are siphoning $58 billion out of New Jersians every year. That is $58 000 000 000 and still the government is so leveraged that we got our bond ratings reduced last year.
New Jersey’s GDP is $497 billion. Accordingly, the New Jersey State government and its political subdivisions take 11.7% of the GDP and devour it.
The democrats just sounded the idea of having a constitutional amendment to raise the so-called “millionaires tax” raised in spite of Christie’s opposition. If we put aside the fairness issue – the entire tax system in New Jersey is unfair and skewed – the tax raise would amount to about $600 million per year which is about 1% of the total amount of money the state government and all its political subdivisions suck out of us under one pretense or another every year. It is insignificant.
This issue of the millionaires tax is just a gimmick of the two parties to keep everybody distracted from the real issues facing New Jersey. Whether it passes or not, it won’t make much of a difference for the reasons explained in the paragraph above. Now the governor will oppose it and we will have both sides talking about this for the next 18 months. They try to get everyone all flustered about this thing so that we don’t look at the big picture. I we looked at the big picture we would throw both parties out of office and start anew.