Municipalities, counties and school districts need enough money to pay for the many essential services that they provide. Paying for and providing many of these services (including, for example, education, transportation, law enforcement and environmental protection) is a joint responsibility of state government and local governments. But New Jersey local governments are not only responsible for delivering most of these services; they also bear the primary responsibility for financing them.
In the area of education, for example, local property taxpayers pay most of the costs, even though the State has a Constitutional obligation to ensure a thorough and efficient education for all of our children. Historically, the State’s share of K-12 public school expenditures is around 40%. State law limits how local governments can raise money. Other than State and Federal funding, New Jersey local governments have only property taxes and limited user fees (charges imposed upon residents and businesses that use or receive a specific service).