Property Taxes Could Rise By 10 Percent Because Of Cuts To School Aid

proeprty tax raiseGov. Chris Christie’s cuts-driven state budget proposal set off alarms in many government and political circles, perhaps none louder than the impact of a planned $820 million reduction in financial aid to local school districts. That emerged as the lead focal point for a multitude of reasons, including the strong connection between school budgets and local property taxes, the enormity of the money at stake and Christie’s weeks-long rhetorical war aimed at the teachers’ union. There’s also this factor: It’s one of the first ways that the real-world impact of Christie’s budget plan will be measured, as school districts putting their tax levies before voters on April 20 have until Monday to submit budget plans to the state.

That impact is likely to be sharp. In addition to pink slips for teachers and other employees, some of that cut – plus some of the $445 million being sliced from funding for towns and cities – is likely to show up in property tax bills, given that the state’s 4-percent cap on property tax growth exempts losses in state aid.

Christie wants to remove that exemption, as part of a harder 2.5-percent limit on property tax increases he wants approved by the Legislature in the short term and by voters via constitutional amendment in November. But that’s not coming in time to alter this year’s school budgets, said New Jersey School Boards Association executive director Marie Bilik, who said property tax hikes as high as 10 percent are possible.

“I agree with the governor’s theory, I absolutely do. Phasing in the 2.5, controlling the cost of government – it’s the only way we are going to survive. But you can’t do it three days before the budget’s due and expect to maintain high-quality education,” Bilik said. “The boards are faced with challenges and decisions like they’ve never been faced with before.”

Michael Kaelber, legal and policy services director for the New Jersey School Boards Association, said the state’s property tax cap provides a dollar-for-dollar increase in the cap for every dollar lost in state aid. A district that loses $1 million in aid can raise its levy by $1 million, plus 4 percent, and remain within the legal limits. Full article in APP.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Well, hopefully, the Township will make a ten percent cut instead of raising taxes 10 percent.
    At least that is what any normal business would do.

  2. We were only cut $3 million dollars and Hershel is right get rid of the illegals in the Lakewood schools and we would be able to have reduced property taxes (maybe not fully because some of the kids that weren’t accepted to the private school would go to the public school system)

  3. Now a 10% increase is bad news. But Tzippi points in the right direction. We have a much better shot at controlling these costs on the local level than we do when the money just keeps pumping out of Trenton, which has to tax us to death on everything else. We have little say in Trenton compared to the power of the vote on the local level. Now, the trick is to make the elected people accountable to their obligation to manage the people’s business efficiently. Steve Langert looks to be a guy who understands this and I hope he keeps pushing to find ways to cut spending.

  4. how can he make cuts when everyone is screaming dont cut my services? Steve just remember 2005. THERE IS A SILENT MAJORITY behind you. keep finding ways to reduce spending (EMS & inspection dept) and hopefully reduce our tax burden. as for the BOE i hope you cut their budget by 20 million

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