>MyFox Video: Farm Tax Breaks for N.J. Celebrities; Middletown’s Mercantante Featured

>Many NJ residents like Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Max Wienberg and others are taking advantage of huge property tax breaks for having portions of their property designated as farmland. They are being called by many phony farmers, for their attempts at cashing in on the law that states property owners with 5 or more acres can qualify for a special farm land tax break if they can show income of only $500 from goods produced on their lands.

MyFox News posted this report last night and interestingly Middletown’s Administrator Tony Mercantante is featured in this report:

…But many say these tax breaks help preserve New Jersey open space and limit development. And Middletown manager Tony Mercantante thinks that can be a good thing.

Merchantante says, “Farming certainly is an activity that the state’s been looking to preserve to the extend possible and farmland assessment has allowed farmers to survive.”

People in favor or the tax breaks worry that backlash will force a change that hurts real farmers and possible jeopardize agriculture in New Jersey.

But Mercantante says change could occur, and bring more tax money to town’s like his, without hurting real farmers.

“I think there should be a sliding scale approach to farmland assessment based upon the extend of your farming activity,” Mercantante says…..

I find Mercantante’s take on this subject somewhat disingenuous. If he felt this way previously why didn’t he speak of it before, could it be because the “Queen of Middletown” is no longer with us? Judy Stanley-Coleman, aka the Queen, also took advantage of this law by raising honeybees on a portion of her large Middletown estate.


Filed under Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Middletown, Tony Mercantante

13 responses to “>MyFox Video: Farm Tax Breaks for N.J. Celebrities; Middletown’s Mercantante Featured

  1. >Why can't we simply require that farming be the individual's primary means of support to take advantage of the tax break? That would effectively disqualify Representative Jon Runyan and his donkeys, the former honeybee queen, along with Springsteen, Weinberg et al. What was it the governor recently intoned- "let us not be chumps?"

  2. >Anon 6:43I agree with you 100%

  3. >It's amazing that Governor Christie, who spends his days playing up the "greed" of normal working folks like cops and teachers, doesn't yet have this group of farming freeloaders on his "radar". You gotta wonder- Why not?

  4. Jay

    >We would need to be wary of "unintended consequences" in taking such actions.Sure, the very rich like Bon Jovi would have to pay a lot more in taxes, but what's a "lot more" to him?There would be a lot of people who wouldn't be able to afford the taxes. THAT land would get developed, adding to the tax burdens of everyone else, and drive property values down even more than before.I'm not saying that this doesn't need to be fixed – it does. But not in ways that hurt.

  5. >Because these people are big political donors.As for Merchantante, you bet he's disingenuous…somehow rumored to be related to the "BEE QUEEN" and has his nose all the politicians in this town's rears. Has he sold his soul for a promotion….used to be a stand up guy. Now he only stands up for the poor excuses that run this town… NOT the people who pay the bills.AS the "queen" said,"if you can't afford the taxes,move" SO LONG ALL YOU CONNIVERS !!!WATER FRONT PROPERTY IS PRIME AND COSTLY! Maybe we should boycott these conniving freeloaders.The time has come for integrity,honesty and ethics !! It should be expected of everyone.

  6. >Jay you are also corrrect.I think that the threshold for earnings need to be raised to show that the land is being used correctly and tax rates are being fairly applied.

  7. >Jay., SCREW THE CONNIVERS.FAIR APPLIES TO EVERYONE !! THE LAW IS THE LAW!Of course what we have for representation in this town doesn't understand or care about the law !!!

  8. >Anonymous 8:08 is correct. All that money floating around, that should be paid in taxes, goes into the pockets of politicians who keep the gravy train going for the few. As cited in an earlier post,this is EASILY resolved by keeping the tax break for REAL farmers, and not those whose primary income is derived from other occupations- or trust funds. The true farmer would be happy to see that- they keep the tax break but are no longer shields to protect the greedy farm dabblers in NJ. I just loved the last man in the video from Colts Neck- "that's why we moved here". The sense of entitlement is astounding. Even more astounding is that anyone continues to defend this tax for anyone but those who actually make a living off the land.

  9. >I think there would be unintended consequences if we made the eligibility requirement that "farming be the individual's primary means of support." Think this one through. That would be a terrible idea. What they should do is raise the amount one has to sell in order to qualify for the tax break. $500 is a JOKE! They should raise that to $10,000 (or a # close to that) like they have in NY. Also, love the party lines in this blog. This isn't just a Republican or Christie issue. Both sides have equally failed us on this issue. Remember, the Democrats have controlled the legislature in this state since I can't remember when. They haven't moved on this issue either.

  10. >Anon 9:25I don't see this as a party line issue.I agree that something needs to be done about it and raising the tax break ceiling from $500 to possible $10,000 would be a good start.As fro the last time that the Republicans controlled things in Trenton, you would have to go back to Christie Whitman for that!

  11. >Mike,Christie Whitman is another example.party affiliation aside, of one who abuses this tax break. Is anyone going to tell me Christie Whitman is a farmer….no more so than Ellen Karcher was a couple of years ago when Jennifer Beck attacked Ellen.Politics has little to do with who is an offender….that doesn't take just political affiliation….it takes the gonads to cheat and endeavor to get away with it.

  12. >Does everyone realize these "so called farmers" pay less in taxes than people in COAH units would pay ? Equitable ??? And most of these "so called farmers" are the wealthy class amongst us and they all employ lawyers to aid them.Justice for all ?Think about it !!

  13. >the biggest problem in all of this is the reliance on property tax. that has change first. let bon jovi pay higher tax on his income, so he doesn't have to worry about bee stings. this change would also prevent the middle class from getting stung by outrageous property taxes.

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