Monday, May 14, 2012

Recommendations Of New Jersey's 1997 Property Tax Commission

Recommendations of the Governor's 1997 Property Tax Commission that through August 2, 2001 have been enacted by law or by regulation and those which have had just bills introduced.
Governor Whitman asked the Property Tax Commission she created in 1997 to study the property tax problem in New Jersey and offer recommendations that would help county, school, and municipal officials ease the burden of property taxes on New Jersey residents.
The 60 specific recommendations of the Commission are listed in summary form below. Following the specific recommendation is a citation to the law, regulation or bill that followed or a statement that (No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
It appears that after the 60 recommendations of the Governor's Property Tax Commission were issued in September of 1998, 11 recommendations had one or more bills introduced to implement them, 6 recommendations were implemented by Executive Order No. 88, and one recommendation was implemented by a constitutional amendment.
Chapter I
1.1 Enact legislation that would allow municipal governments in urban aid-qualified communities to levy a parking, entertainment, or hotel room tax for the purpose of providing direct tax relief to property taxpayers.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
Chapter II
2.1 Establish a State program of financial assistance and incentives to encourage local governments and school districts to consolidate, regionalize, and implement new joint services.
P.L.1999, c.60, Regional Efficiency Aid Program (REDI). This program assists local governments and school districts with the study and implementation of shared service agreements and consolidation efforts.
2.2 Link any program of incentives and financial assistance for consolidation, regionalization, and shared services directly to providing property tax relief for the communities' residents.
P.L.1999, c.61, Regional Efficiency Aid Program (REAP). This program provides property tax credits directly to residents in those taxing districts that have implemented regionalization and other cost saving measures.
2.3 Continue funding for the Joint Service Incentive Grant Program, which provides "seed money" to study or implement consolidation, and regional and shared service programs.
The last time the "Joint Services Incentive Aid" grant program was funded in the State Budget was for $500,000 in FY 2000.
2.4 Amend current statutes to provide, at local option, that in instances of shared or merged services involving police, firefighters, and teachers, all contractual matters shall be subject to renegotiation with the shared/merged service provider.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
2.5 Permit locally funded early retirement incentives or added pension credit programs for newly consolidated municipalities or new interlocal service programs.
P.L.1999, c.59, Permits local units to offer retirement or termination incentives to certain employees affected by regionalization of services.
2.6 Permit local units to "opt out" of Civil Service for purposes of interlocal and shared service programs.
A-258 of 00-01, Permits counties and municipalities to withdraw from civil service for purposes of interlocal and shared service programs.
2.7 Direct all State agencies to conduct a review of their rules and program requirements to identify those that restrict local shared efforts or cooperative activity.
Executive Order 88.
2.8 Administratively provide that appointment of a joint municipal court judge shall be by the Governor based upon nominations made by the municipalities operating the joint municipal court.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
2.9 Enact legislation to permit county governments and approved local cooperative pricing systems to establish programs similar to the State's open-ended contracts.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
2.10 Provide clear statutory authority for counties to serve as facilitators of intermunicipal joint service efforts. Along with legislative authority, provide limited financial assistance to help counties establish offices of shared service facilitation.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
2.11 Statutorily require regular (at least annual) meetings between the governing bodies of adjoining municipalities, and between municipal officials and those of local school districts, authorities, and fire districts to discuss cost- saving efforts and possible shared services.
A-544 of 2000, Provides for annual meetings between school boards and municipal governing bodies to discuss finances.
2.12 Direct State agencies, including the Local Government Budget Review Program, to make personnel available upon request to assist local officials with planning new interlocal activities and evaluating the feasibility of shared service programs.
Executive Order 88.
2.13 Encourage local governments and school districts to make greater use of public-private efforts and the services available from non-profit organizations to help develop and implement regional and shared service efforts.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
2.14 Establish a statutory budget cap exemption for interlocal service agreements. Provide a positive cap base adjustment to reflect a fixed amount of the interlocal appropriation as an inducement to establish shared service programs.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
2.15 Revise the local budget law to permit budget transfers at any time during the budget year to fund new interlocal service agreements.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
2.16 Assume the costs of the county prosecutors' offices and the costs of providing court facilities, including construction costs.
S-505 of 00-01, Requires State to reimburse counties for costs of county prosecutors offices.
A-1360 of 00-01, State assumption of county prosecutorial office costs.
S-2220 and A-3450 of 00-01, Creates the judicial and prosecutorial facilities construction assistance act.
2.17 Permit additional membership representation from participants in joint meetings established under the Consolidated Municipal Services Act, N.J.S.A. 40:48B.
P.L.1999, c.58, Facilities consolidation of municipalities and municipal services.
2.18 Condition financial assistance or State aid upon participation in shared or regional service activities.
P.L.1999, Chapter 156, Concerns special municipal aid and extraordinary municipal aid and conditions aid, in part, on a municipality's opting for shared or regionalized services.
2.19 Amend the Municipal Consolidation Act to reduce the number of petition signatures.
P.L.1999, Chapter 58, implements recommendations of Property Tax Commission.
2.20 Amend the Municipal Consolidation Act to permit the creation of a municipal consolidation study commission by ordinance of the local governing bodies without the need for a ratifying referendum in each municipality
P.L.1999, Chapter 58, implements recommendations of Property Tax Commission.
2.21 Amend the Municipal Consolidation Act to lengthen the time allotted for filing the study commission's final report to at least no later than Labor Day (rather than nine months after the election of the consolidation study commission). Consideration should be given to provide for a permissive extension (up to a maximum of one year), if desired by the commission.
P.L.1999, Chapter 58, implements recommendations of Property Tax Commission.
2.22 Eliminate the commission's six month preliminary report and the Department of Community Affairs' eight month evaluative review of that report.
P.L.1999, Chapter 58, implements recommendations of Property Tax Commission.
Chapter III
3.1 Implement the recommendations of the New Jersey Regionalization Advisory Panel's January, 1998 report.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
3.2 Revise the funding mechanism for regional school districts to eliminate cost inequities and permit equal sharing of the benefits and cost savings possible from regionalization.
A-511 and S-128 of 00-01, Provides supplemental State aid to certain regional school district constituent municipalities to offset any tax increase associated with regionalization.
3.3 Direct the Commissioner of Education to develop a program to maintain and enhance local control of individual schools when districts regionalize.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
3.4 Keep authority and control over certain school-related functions now exercised by the local boards of education at the sub-regional level when school districts regionalize.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
3.5 Direct the Commissioner of Education to develop regional and shared service models for administrative and support functions.
Executive Order 88.
3.6 Conduct studies to identify and develop models of shared administrative and management positions.
Executive Order 88.
3.7 Help the county superintendents' offices facilitate efforts to implement inter-district and joint pupil transportation services.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
3.8 Direct the Department of Education and the Department of Community Affairs to work jointly to encourage interlocal efforts between school districts and municipalities.
Executive Order 88.
3.9 Research and study current use of shared and regional approaches to general education and administrative services by local districts to identify suitable models.
Executive Order 88.
3.10 Help increase parents' and residents' involvement in the educational process and the affairs of neighborhood schools.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
Chapter IV
4.1 Prepare a guidebook for municipalities and counties to determine the true costs and benefits of development, including an "Economic Analysis Worksheet" and techniques for implementation.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
4.2 Provide planning board members with tools for understanding the costs and benefits of development and land preservation and provide financial and technical assistance to strengthen local planning.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
4.3 Enable municipalities to enact "timed growth" ordinances that advance the State Plan, as a tool to control property taxes.
A-426 and S-601 and A-3269 of 00-01, Authorizes timed-growth ordinances under "Municipal Land Use Law."
A-3269 and S-496 of 00-01, Authorizes adoption of timed-growth ordinances by municipalities.
4.4 Support the use of impact fees to mitigate the cost of new development by providing additional revenue for schools, emergency services, and parks in areas that promote compact development.
A-1712 of 00-01, Authorizes assessment of development impact fees by municipalities.
4.5 Support the State Plan's use by municipalities, counties, and State agencies as a means of holding down property taxes.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming), but DCA indicates it supports the State Plan's use by municipalities, counties, and State agencies as a means of holding down property taxes.
4.6 Amend Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) regulations to ensure that practices do not initiate a development cycle or a ratables chase. For the next allocation cycle, develop COAH formula consistent with the State Plan.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
4.7 Support state funding for transportation, including mass transit, that meets local and regional needs.
A. Bills Introduced
1998-1999 session:
A 2330 Motor fuels tax, increase for transportation purposes
A 2404 Petroleum gross receipt tax - Transportation Trust Fund
ACR96 Motor vehicle fuels tax - dedicate for transportation funding
ACR124 Transportation funding - dedicate 1/2 cent sales tax
S1255 Motor fuels tax, increase for transportation purposes
SCR64 Motor vehicle fuels tax - dedicate for transportation funding
SCR65 Motor fuels tax- repair State transportation system
SCR67 Motor vehicle fuels tax - dedicate for transportation funding
A2984 County road project - eliminate State permit fee
A3628 State transportation system, improve local bridges
S1610 Statewide Transportation and Local Bridge Bond Act
S1745 County road project - eliminate State permit fee
S1848 Traffic control signals - DOT bear cost
S2295 State transportation system, improve local bridges
A95 Expand definition of Circle of Mobility
S161 Expand definition of Circle of Mobility
S194 NJT Corp., DOT property in lieu of tax payment
A2343 Transportation Trust Fund Authority - increase spending cap
A3567 Creates Local Bond Authority
S1609 Transportation Trust Fund Authority - increase spending cap
2000-2001 session:
A1673 Statewide Transportation; local bridge funds; $205 million
A2348 Transportation Trust Fund projects - concerns revenues
A2541 21st Century Transportation Trust Fund Extension
A2586 Congestions Relief/Transportation Trust Fund Act
A2715 Transportation Trust Fund Authority - concerns fund use
A3010 Amends definition of Circle of Mobility
A3188 Transportation Project Capital Fund - establish
A3350 Transportation district - concerns congestion relief
ACR18 Petroleum gross receipts tax - fund transportation
ACR40 Transportation funding - dedicate 1/2 cent of sales tax
ACR115 Petroleum product tax - dedicate to transportation
S26 Motor fuels tax, increase for transportation purposes
S705 Traffic control signals - DOT bear cost
S1488 Expand definition of Circle of Mobility
SCR7 Motor vehicle fuels tax - dedicate for transportation funding
SCR35 Motor vehicle fuels tax - repair State transportation system
A444 Create Highway Corridor Redevelopment Zone Comm.
A785 County road project - eliminate State permit fee
A2587 1999 Statewide Transportation/Local Bridge Fund; $150 million
A3181 Road repair grants - State, county, mun.; $45 million
A3286 Statewide Transportation, local bridge fund; $145 million
A3496 Local Bridge Bond Act of 2001
S813 State transportation system, improve local bridges
S1528 1999 Statewide Transportation/Local Bridge Fund; $150 million
S2106 Road maintenance, repairs - county, mun. $20 million
A3502 Concerns South New Jersey Light Rail Transit system
AR147 Local participation in RR Operations Act
AR157 Mass transit - DOT alleviate congestion
S239 Expands definition of Circle of Mobility
A1189 Creates Local Bond Authority
A3010 Amends definition of Circle of Mobility
B. Laws Enacted
P.L. 1999, c.181 Bridge Rehabilitation and Improvement Bond Act
P.L. 1999, c.147 Increase spending cap for the Transportation Trust Fund Authority
P.L. 2000, c. 11 Appropriates $205 million from 1999 Statewide Transportation and Local Bridge Fund
P.L. 2000, c.59 Expands definition of Circle of Mobility
P.L. 2000, c.73 Congestion Relief and Transportation Trust Fund Renewal Act
P.L. 2000, c.155 Appropriates $205 million from 1999 Statewide Transportation and Local Bridge Fund
P.L. 2000, c.53 FY 2001 Appropriations Act; appropriates $900 million from
Transportation Trust Fund for various State and local transportation projects
P.L. 1999, c.138 FY 2000 Appropriations Act; appropriates $900 million from Transportation Trust Fund for various State and local transportation projects
P.L. 1998, c.45 FY 1999 Appropriations Act; appropriates $700 million from Transportation Trust Fund for various State and local transportation projects
P.L. 1997, c.131 FY 1998 Appropriations Act; appropriates $900 million from Transportation Trust Fund for various State and local transportation projects
4.8 Support a stable source of funding for open space and farmland preservation.
On November 3, 1998, New Jersey's voters passed Public Question No. 1. Article 8, Sec. 2. para. 7 of State Constitution dedicates $98 million in sales tax revenues for open space, farmland, and historic preservation.
Chapter V
5.1 Establish a county-based assessment structure with strong State oversight and involvement to provide an environment conducive to ongoing assessment equity.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
5.2 Mandate more frequent updates of assessment values by requiring assessors to use State-approved computer software.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming). However, see A-641 and S-995 of 00-01, that creates a "Task Force to Study the Computer-Assisted Mass Appraisal of Real Property; appropriates $100,000.
5.3 Establish a schedule for property visitation.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
5.4 Improve guidelines for assessment uniformity.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
5.5 Create a State-funded program to absorb increases in the local property tax burden for a fixed period of time.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
5.6 Guarantee the promised State incentive funding for the full five-year period, once local units agree to merge.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
5.7 Provide State funding to "hold harmless" local units that experienced a reduction in overall State aid funding as a result of the consolidation.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
5.8 Require municipalities participating in mergers to conduct and complete a revaluation prior to consolidation.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
5.9 Provide State funding of the revaluation relief credits that municipalities are permitted to offer property taxpayers under the Revaluation Relief Act of 1993.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
5.10 Use financial incentives and disincentives to encourage participation when there is only a small discrepancy between taxpayer assessments and current market values.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
Chapter VI
6.1 Fund an independent statewide analysis of the equity issues surrounding "circuit breakers" established along intergenerational lines and withhold new programs until completion of that study. (No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
6.2 Enact Governor Whitman's proposed legislation that would move local school board member elections to the November general election.
A-1721 of 2000, Provides for the election of school board members at November general election.
6.3 Amend state law (C. 40A:10-52) to remove the barrier prohibiting municipalities and school districts from joining together for the purpose of providing joint health insurance.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
6.4 Extend the open enrollment period indefinitely for municipalities wishing to enter the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP).
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
6.5 Develop a mechanism which permits and encourages adjacent municipalities to share the ratables derived from new development with regional impacts beyond the borders of the host municipality.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
6.6 Enact legislation that will establish a system of multiple jurisdictional bargaining for public employees on a county, regional, or statewide basis.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
6.7 Enact legislation that will limit the annual growth in public employee salaries to the rate of inflation as measured by the consumer price index for the New York and Philadelphia areas.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
6.8 Examine the effectiveness of existing caps on budgets that contribute to property taxes.
(No law, regulation or bill has been forthcoming).
6.9 Examine the question of seeking voter approval of all budgets that contribute to property taxes.
ACR-80 of 2000, Proposed constitutional amendment requiring voter approval for any new tax or tax increase by any governmental unit.
Biography: Gerald ‘Jerry' Dowgin "The Property Tax Doctor" and the author of the Homeowner's Assessment Review Guide (http://www.propertytaxdoctor.com) a former tax assessor worked in the field of public finance at the State and local levels in New Jersey for more than three decades until his retirement in 2001. As a Supervising Tax Analyst in the Office of Research and Statistics in the Division of Taxation in the New Jersey Department of Treasury he worked principally on local property tax issues. Then he joined the Office of Legislative Services (OLS) in 1983 and served as the Secretary to the New Jersey Property Tax Assessment Study Commission for four years. While working in the OLS, Local Government Section he researched, drafted, and estimated the cost of the Senior Property Tax Freeze Bill which was signed onto law and worked on legislation that became law that virtually stopped the tax assessment practice of "Spot Assessments" in New Jersey that had treated many property taxpayers unfairly.

0 comments: