I write of behalf of League President Bill Pikolycky, Mayor of Woodbine and Conference of Mayors President, Janice Mironov, Mayor of East Windsor and ask you take action to support critical property tax relief legislation.
Assembly Bill A-3804/Senate Bill S-330, increases the distribution to municipalities from the Energy Tax Receipts Property Tax Relief Fund, restoring funds to municipalities, and urge you to pass such legislation before the state budget break. A-3804/S-330 is the first major step in addressing property tax affordability.
Please join your Fellow Mayors from across the State and sign on to our open letter to the Administration and Legislature to act immediately on these bills.
S-330 passed the Senate in March, and is pending a Committee hearing in the Assembly. While there are corrections and amendments that should be made shortly, we also ask the Legislature and Administration to work with the New Jersey League of Municipalities and the New Jersey Conference of Mayors to address any necessary changes and act promptly on enacting this legislation.
This legislation provides for a two year phased-in restitution of the $331 million, which has been annually diverted from dedicated municipal funding programs – the Energy Tax Receipts Property Tax Relief Fund (ETR) and the Consolidated Municipal Property Tax Relief Aid (CMPTRA). During State Fiscal Years 2009, 2010, and 2011, this funding was diverted from towns to address State budget accounts. Ever since, those dedicated revenues have not been distributed to municipalities. As drafted, the legislation would eventually bring funding for all municipalities back to 2008 levels.
Taxes on gas and electric utilities were originally collected by the host municipalities, and when the State made itself the collection agent for these taxes, it promised to return the proceeds to municipalities for property tax relief. Just as municipalities collect property taxes for the benefit of school districts, counties and other entities; the State is supposed to collect Energy Taxes for the benefit of municipal governments. For years, though, State officials, from both sides of the aisle, have diverted funding from Energy Taxes to plug holes in the State budget and to fund State programs. The restoration of this funding to New Jersey’s municipalities is long overdue.
Local officials are clearly committed to limiting their reliance on increased property taxes, while bearing responsibility to provide for local needs including critical public safety and health needs of the community. The overall trend has been for a slowdown in growth of the average property tax bill since the 2% property tax levy cap. In 2021, the average local property tax bill increased by 1.9%.
Please add your name to this letter, which we hope to release in the upcoming weeks.
For more information, you can go on the League’s website for the ETR Resource Center.