Monday, June 21, 2010

'The Moment for True Reform Has Finally Come'

A key New Jersey Democrat faces the harsh reality.
Mayor Cory Booker Monday endorsed Governor Christie's proposed constitutional amendment limiting annual property tax increases to 2.5 percent.

Booker, a Democrat, said he is backing the Republican governor's plan -- along with the rest of Christie's 33-bill "toolkit" to assist local governments -- because "the moment for true reform has finally come."

"We have a historic opportunity here," Booker said, praising Christie's "guts and focus" on New Jersey's persistent struggle with high property taxes.

Christie and Booker rejected a competing proposal being introduced Monday by the Legislature's top Democrat, Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester). Sweeney's plan would cap annual increases at 2.9 percent and do it by law, not through constitutional amendment.

Sweeney says his plan would improve on the state's current 4 percent cap law, passed in 2007 under Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, without crippling towns and schools through constitutional change. Sweeney would also provide exceptions for some of local governments' most trying costs, including health care, pension payments and energy.

Christie dismissed those as "Corzine Swiss cheese holes" that render the cap ineffective. The governor's cap could only be exceeded for towns' debt payments or if local voters choose to override it.
Caterwauling from assembly and senate Democrats sure to follow.

Governor Christie has unveiled the Cap 2.5 Property Tax Savings Calculator. I recommend NJ resident and non-residents alike visit and see how much they'll save in taxes.


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