Updated February 27, 2017
Posted February 27, 2017
Property taxes in New Jersey are the highest in the nation. Since 2000, they have doubled and have risen at over twice the rate of inflation. No wonder people are forced to move; no wonder we have the highest foreclosure rate in the nation.
Property taxpayers suffer because raising this tax is the path of least resistance. When the income tax goes up, people blame politicians in the Statehouse. For property taxes, it’s not clear who’s to blame: the state blames local governments. The towns who collect the taxes for school districts and counties blame those entities for not controlling costs. The towns, school districts and counties all blame the state for cutting state aid.
Everyone is to blame. No one is responsible.
The obvious way to control property taxes is to hold the line on expenses, but this is fraught with political consequences, especially for Democrats. Public-sector unions like the NJEA and the two police unions, whose members’ salaries and benefits are largely paid by property taxes, wield enormous influence in both general elections and, particularly, Democratic primaries.