Fixing NJ’s Broken Property Tax System Ends In Compromise – Will Agreement Lower Taxes?

lkwd_avg_tax_chart[Lakewood 10 year tax chart] The property tax revolt that ousted Gov. Jon S. Corzine last year took a revolutionary turn on Thursday. The men left standing — Gov. Chris Christie, who last year defeated Corzine, and state Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, who saw no support four years ago from then-Gov. Corzine when he called for cuts to public workers’ benefits — reached a deal on a key element of controlling local spending and property taxes. 

The agreement announced Thursday on controlling arbitrator awards for public employees capped 10 months of accords. During that time, Christie and Sweeney put into place measures they expect will change patterns of public spending and public workers’ compensation.

In the immediate future, however, property taxes still are likely to keep rising. 

Even with spending cuts and layoffs throughout the state’s municipalities and school districts, New Jersey’s highest-in-the-nation property tax average of $7,544 rose at the same rate this year as it did the year before Christie took office. 

If the new tax cap of 2 percent is met in 2011 and in the coming years, the average property tax bill will hit $8,300 in 2015. 

In “Breaking Point,” a follow-up to last year’s comprehensive “Tax Crush” series, New Jersey Press Media has examined the personal impact of the state’s dysfunctional property tax system. The weeklong series, which concludes today, showed how the growing tax burden is hurting tens of thousands of homeowners who face tax lien foreclosures, major property tax hikes and inaccurate assessments. 

Property taxes are “not going to be fixed in a year,” Christie said. “But we’re moving in the right direction.” Read more in APP.

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