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NJ Assembly votes to make it easier for towns to raise property taxes


By Michael Symons March 16, 2017 8:12 PM

TRENTON — Towns and counties would gain another exemption to the spending limits of the cap on property tax increases if a bill passed Thursday by the Assembly makes it into law.

Assemblyman Gary Schaer, D-Passaic, said he has heard from municipalities about having to pass on opportunities to use federal or private grants to hire police or buy fire trucks because of concerns over fitting the required local matching funds under the 2 percent cap.

The Assembly voted 48-26 to exempt matching-funds spending from the cap.

“We cannot hamstring local government from doing necessary things that members of one municipality or another would otherwise want to do but they have their hands tied and vital, vital considerations like police, like fire, like EMS, etc., are being jeopardized right now,” Schaer said.

Republicans opposed the bill.

“Any time we begin to erode away that 2 percent property tax cap level, that’s a problem for taxpayers. There’s no question about it,” said Assemblyman Anthony Bucco, R-Morris.

“We had a property tax cap years ago, but it had a million exemptions,” Bucco said. “We were able to negotiate a new property tax cap and limit the number of exceptions to very few, and I think you have to take very seriously any bill that begins to put exceptions back in.”

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