Democrats’ Bill To Cap Property Tax Increases At 2.9 Percent Cleared By Assembly Panel

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TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen John F. McKeon and Peter J. Barnes III to statutorily cap property tax increases at 2.9 percent annually was released Friday by an Assembly panel.

The bill (A-3065) improves the 4 percent cap McKeon sponsored in 2007 that successfully held property tax increases to 3.3 percent last year after years of increases that averaged around 7.5 percent.

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“The existing 4 percent cap has resulted in better controlling property taxes, and this proposal builds upon the success of that measure,” said McKeon (D-Essex). “I am hopeful the Christie administration will work with us on this bill and not insist upon legislation that would cripple the ability of local governments to provide basic services, education and public safety.”

“We’ve come a long way on controlling property taxes but we need to do better,” said Barnes (D-Middlesex). “We’ve seen that a statutory cap can work. Now we need to make it better, and this is the best approach to get that done for the benefit of property taxpayers throughout our state.”

The bill would also allow cap banking to permit counties and municipalities to carry forward unused portions of permitted increases for any budget year for three successive years.

The bill was released 6-4 by the Assembly Budget Committee. The Senate version of the cap, which is sponsored by Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), cleared the upper house’s Budget Committee Thursday. Both houses are expected to take the measure up for a vote Monday.

Gov. Chris Christie called for an amendment to the state constitution capping property tax increases at 2.5 percent. Neither house has scheduled hearings on the governor’s proposal.


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