Category Archives: property tax relief

>After Receiving $41.1M Tax Subsidy For Economic Development And Job Creation Campbell’s Soup Co. Announces Layoffs

>Nothing like wasting tax payer money on corporate welfare when the money could have been used for other more important things like education, health care, property tax relief, infrastructure….

Once again Governor you definitely have your priorities straight!.

http://www.myfoxphilly.com/video/videoplayer.swf?dppversion=10588

Campbell’s Soup Co. Announces Layoffs: MyFoxPHILLY.com

CAMDEN, N.J. – Campbell’s Soup Co. plans to lay off about 770 people worldwide, Including about 130 people at its Camden headquarters, in an effort to reduce overhead and improve efficiency.


The reductions will be phased in over the next two years and will result in a savings of about $75 million dollars.

The cuts include about 10 percent of the company’s workforce in Camden, its longtime headquarters.

Fox 29’s Steve Keeley has more in this Wednesday morning live report from “Good Day.”

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Filed under Camden NJ, Campbell's Soup, Education, Fox News, Gov. Chris Christie, infrastructure, layoffs, myfoxphilly, property tax relief, tax subsidies

>AS A Matter Of Fact…Democrats make a statement with budget plan of their own

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June 27th, 2011 | Published in NJPP Blog: As a Matter of Fact …

Democrats have done an unexpected thing. With just days to go before a budget must be enacted, they have introduced their own budget – a “this is what we stand for” budget – with a companion millionaires’ tax to restore at least some of the Christie administration’s proposed program cuts.

That they did this shouldn’t be a surprise.

It’s common practice for the party that controls the Legislature to draft and sponsor the state budget. The Democrats control both houses just as they did last year.

But last year the majority party ceded budget power to the Republican minority, who produced a bill that closely resembled Governor Christie’s March 2010 proposal. Many expected the same to happen this year, so it’s somewhat surprising Democratic leaders have proposed a spending plan of their own.

Here’s what is being proposed [The actual list of changes has not been posted publicly although the press has been briefed and Senate President Sweeney’s office confirmed details]:

MORE REVENUE

$913 million from higher than expected revenue estimates: In March 2011, Governor Christie’s proposed budget planned to spend $29.4 billion in FY 2012. In May, when revenue projections were updated, the Office of Legislative Services (OLS) estimated that collections for the current year and next would be $913 million more than the Governor’s original March estimate. The estimate assumed the current tax structure would remain the same.

$550 million from the reintroduction of the millionaires’ tax: Last year, the legislature passed a millionaires’ tax bill that increased taxes on taxpayers with incomes over $1 million. Governor Christie vetoed the bill. The legislature could not override the veto. In this year’s bill, the additional tax revenue would be tied to additional aid for wealthier suburban schools. Part of the logic is that Republican legislators might be willing to vote for a bill to raise income tax rates on their wealthier constituents if that additional revenue stays in the wealthier school districts.

$300 million in funding shifts from programs that have unused balances: Not all programs spend their entire appropriation every year. Unspent funds either lapse and become unavailable to the program or they rollover and become part of the same program’s spending in the following year. This year the legislature has determined that $300 million is available to be cut from programs that have been over-funded in the past and added to programs that need additional support.

AMONG THE DEMOCRATS’ PRIORITIES

School Aid: The democrats’ bill would add at least $1.1 billion to school spending. Senator Sweeney said this includes the Supreme Court-mandated $500 million for the state’s poorest, urban districts and $600 million for defunded suburban school districts. Something to keep in mind is that the original Millionaires tax enacted in 2004 was tied to property tax relief for senior citizens. That connection made the bill palatable to some Republican legislators who represented senior citizens who would benefit from the property tax relief but would not be subject to the higher tax rates.

Property Tax Relief: It is said the bill would double Homestead Property Tax Rebates – not triple them as Christie said he would do.

Money not spent on the Homestead Property Tax Rebates would be used to unfreeze the Senior Freeze program, allowing new seniors to participate and raising the amount rebated. This program freezes property taxes for people over 65 who earn less than $80,000. In the current fiscal year, only seniors already in the program were eligible for the rebate and the amount was limited to the amount received in the prior year.

It is said an additional $50 million would be made available to communities with understaffed fire and police departments – aiding Newark, Camden and other communities with high crime rates.

Health Care: It is said the bill would restore $7.5 million in ideological cuts to women’s health clinics and $300 million for NJ FamilyCare and Medicaid to allow working parents to continue to obtain affordable health care coverage.

WILL THIS WORK?

By law, New Jersey must pass a budget by the end of the day on Thursday, June 30th. Passing a budget on time is a deadline the state has always taken seriously.

It is impossible to know now how the negotiations are going – if the Democrats will be successful in their attempt to share the sacrifice among all income groups and help the poor and middle class in this state. The governor vetoed a millionaires’ tax last year and has said he will veto it again. It seems unlikely Republicans would join Democrats to over-ride the governor’s veto, especially in an election year, although redistricting has left some Republicans in more Democratic districts.

In battles of the budget, the New Jersey governor holds most of the cards. He alone has the power to determine revenues and set the limit on funds available for programs. If Governor Christie doesn’t agree the state will collect an additional $800 million next year or if he vetoes the Millionaires’ tax and the legislature can’t over ride the veto, that’s money the legislature can’t spend. In addition, New Jersey’s governor has line-item veto power. Any program he doesn’t want funded can be reduced or eliminated. If this happens, the legislature’s only recourse is to override that veto if two-thirds of the legislators support the override.

The only successful override of a governor’s veto was in 1992. Governor Florio vetoed the entire budget passed by the then Republican-controlled legislature. The Republican budget had cut $1.1 billion from Governor Florio’s proposed $15.7 billion budget. At the time, the Republicans had a 27-to-13 majority in the Senate and a 58-to-22 majority in the Assembly. The override passed both houses with no votes to spare. (It was opposed by all Democrats and, in the Assembly, two Republicans.

Democrats now have a 24-to-16 majority in the Senate and a 47-to-33 majority in the Assembly, making veto overrides more difficult. So far none have been successful. Perhaps it will be this budget – this statement of what New Jersey ought to stand for – that will be the first success.

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Filed under As a Matter of Fact, Budget Battle, Democratic Budget, Democratic priorities, Gov. Chris Christie, Health Care, higher revenue, Millionaire'sTax, New Jersey Policy Perspective, property tax relief

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: SENATOR BUCCO SUPPORTS DELIBERATIVE APPROACH TO REFORMING NJ PROPERTY TAXES

For Release: Immediate
Friday, July 02, 2010

TRENTON – In remarks during the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee meeting today, Senator Anthony Bucco, R-Morris, indicated support for a deliberative process in studying and advancing property tax reform for New Jersey residents. Senator Bucco’s remarks bring him in line with Senate Democrats who believe that we have to study the issue carefully instead of enacting hasty reform:

If you review the archived audio footage on the New Jersey Legislature’s Web page (http://www.njleg.state.nj.us), Senator Bucco made the following remarks at about 8 minutes, 43 seconds in:

“I think there is room for negotiations into how we implement the cap, whether we eliminate some of the things or add onto some of the things that are being proposed. I think that’s what this Budget Committee is going to be about all summer…”

Also, at the end of the hearing, Senator Bucco made the following remarks, at around 1 hour, 9 minutes and 41 seconds in:

“We passed the bill for 2.9, the Senate President’s compromise bill that he had put in, and we know that the Governor is going to CV that, and I think that the sooner we can come to an understanding and a bill that we can support with the CV, I think this is very important.

“Again, it’s not going to help this year, but the sooner we do it, I think the better off all of us will be in making sure that we move forward with the other proposals.”

Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem, made the following statement upon reviewing Senator Bucco’s remarks:

“We appreciate Senator Bucco’s admission that there is no need to rush a very important, and very necessary, property tax reform package which could have unintended consequences. We look forward to a deliberative, thorough vetting of all the issues, and a property tax plan which will make New Jersey affordable beginning in the next tax year.”

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Filed under NJ Senate Democrats, press release, property tax cap, property tax relief, Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, State Senator Anthony Bucco, Stephen Sweeney

NJPP Monday Minute 5/3/10: Taxing seniors with higher fees is not shared sacrifice


Thirty-six percent of the 1.5 million seniors living in New Jersey have incomes under $25,000. For them, budget cuts that raise living expenses will have the disastrous effect of pushing more seniors into poverty. Consider the following policy proposals made in Gov. Christie’s proposed FY 2011 budget.

Homestead Rebates are eliminated – for both homeowners and tenants – for calendar year 2010.


The Homestead Rebate program is the state’s most significant homeowner and tenant property tax relief program – paying over $1 billion to homeowners and $74 million to tenants in 2009. In that year, more than 500,000 senior homeowners received average rebate checks of $1,300; while more than 100,000 senior tenants were eligible for maximum rebates of $800. This year homeowners and tenants will receive nothing – no matter what their income or their property tax.

The Christie administration proposes to change this program to a credit program in 2011 – the first installment of which would be made in May 2011 more than a year from now. Only homeowners would be eligible for the credit; tenants would be excluded entirely from receiving a credit. The FY 2011 budget recommends $268 million for the first quarterly credit in May 2011 which presumably would show up as a deduction on the property tax bill – not as a check in the mail.

Since 1963 when the state enacted its income tax, payments have been made directly to homeowners and tenants. Last year, the state sent checks to senior citizen homeowners with incomes below $150,000 and tenants with income below $100,000. Eligibility has varied through the years but this is the first year in memory where no payments will be made.

Senior Property Tax Freeze Program closed to new participants


The Senior Property Tax Freeze Program reimburses eligible senior citizens and disabled people for the amount their property taxes increase since the first year they become eligible for the program. The Christie administration would save about $26 million by closing this program to new eligible seniors in FY 2011 regardless of their income. Those already in the program would continue to benefit as long as their income remains below $70,000.

In 2009, this program paid out over $191 million to 136,000 repeat participants and 47,000 new participants. People already in the program received average checks just over $1,300; new participants received approximately $265. The 47,000 newly eligible seniors in 2009 cost the state $12.5 million.

In a year when property taxes are expected to increase because of severe cuts to school and municipal aid, the administration expects to pay just over $1,000 ($300 less than in FY 2010) to the 159,000 participating seniors in FY 2011.

Seniors likely will pay more for their prescription drugs


In order to save just over $140 million in prescription drug expenses for low income senior citizens, the Christie administration proposes to increase co-pays for brand name drugs to $15 from $7; decrease co-pays for generic drugs to $5 from $6; and institute a $310 annual deductible for the first time in history for those eligible for the Pharmaceutical Assistance for Aged and Disabled and Senior Gold programs.

Over 160,000 poor elderly residents participate in the PAAD and Senior Gold programs, according to the New Jersey Foundation for Aging. Couples over age 65 are eligible for PAAD if their incomes are under $29,956 and for Senior Gold if their incomes are under $39,956. Single individuals are eligible for PAAD if their incomes are under $24,432 and for Senior Gold if their incomes are under $34,432. For all of these people, the cost of getting the medicine they need to survive will likely increase based on the provisions included in the FY 2011 budget.

While encouraging use of generic over name brand medications is sensible in terms of cost, not every drug is available in generic form. About 36 percent of PAAD recipients use brand name prescriptions because no generic equivalent exists; another four percent use the brand name because their doctors believe the brand name is medically necessary. The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services estimates that on average brand name medicines cost $119 compared to $18.71 for generic. AARP notes that the average person on PAAD takes 4 to 5 drugs each month. The combination of the new $310 annual deductible and drug price changes could mean that some low-income seniors could face significant increases in their medical costs.

Cutting prescription drug assistance and property tax relief for New Jersey’s seniors, while giving the wealthy a tax break, does not represent compassion and shared sacrifice. Gov. Christie’s plan will see more seniors rationing drugs, getting sicker and ending up in emergency rooms and nursing homes that will cost taxpayers even more. New Jersey can do better than target the elderly who can barely afford to make ends meet.

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Filed under AARP, Monday Minute, New Jersey Policy Perspective, NJ Foundation For Aging, prescription drugs, property tax relief, senoir citizens

If A Democrat Can Come Up With A Property Tax Plan, Why Can’t A Republican?

That’s the question that Paul Mulshine asked in today’s Star-Ledger when he talked about 13th District State Assembly Candidate, Bob Brown.

Mulshine’s column today,Sen. Richard Codey and property taxes: Crossing the West Orange line, dealt with property taxes in West Orange and why Senate President/former Governor Richard Cody, decided recently to flee West Orange for Roseland.

What does the West Orange line mean? Mulshine uses the term to define when one’s monthly property tax bill is close to or exceeds one’s monthly mortgage payment, For most in West Organge that time may be coming soon.
When Mulshine asked Cody why as Senate President and a former Governor he couldn’t deliver on property tax relief he didn’t have an answer. All Cody could come up with was “Hopefully, you bring back as much money as you can.”
Mulshine went on to note that when he asked Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Chris Christie, that same question he pretty much had the same answer. “A governor can’t do it by himself,” Christie said. “You have to work with municipalities and you have to get citizens to actively say, ‘We’re going to demand more out of our school districts and towns in terms of reduction of property taxes.’ So, we’re just telling the truth.” And the truth, he said, is that “there’s no silver bullet.”
Mulshine used that cliche to then talk about Bob Brown and his plan for property tax relief which would cap local costs and:
I would take the state income tax that is dedicated to only school property tax relief and take that money and distribute it equally per child all over the state of New Jersey, which would reduce your school property taxes by 50 percent,” says Brown..

“Brown is a Democrat, by the way. So if a Democrat can come up with a property tax plan, why can’t a Republican?” Mulshine concluded.
In his column posted on NJ.com, Mulshine included Bob Brown’s recent campaign video for readers to watch. I posted this same video last week, but here it is again:

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Filed under Bob Brown, Chris Christie, Paul Mulshine, property tax relief, Richard Cody, Roseland NJ, the Star-Ledger, the West Orange Line, West Orange NJ