Rumana wants to rein in PILOTs

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

We’ve been over the reasons why the Payment In Lieu of Taxes  (PILOT) system is a taxpayer atrocity, Save Jerseyans.

At least one legislator is ready to move on it. On Monday, Assembly Republican Whip Scott T. Rumana (R- Passaic, Bergen, Essex and Morris) announced plans to reform the notorious tax abatement program.

scott rumana“PILOTs can be a useful tool for communities to stimulate economic development, however, the lack of oversight and ability to ensure these tax breaks are appropriately awarded and accomplish their intended goals needs to be corrected,” explained Rumana in a release from the GOP Assembly office.

The end result? Presumably to prevent what’s happening in places like Jersey City. Assemblyman Rumana’s proposal is outlined below the fold:

  • Information concerning abatement agreements must be published by each municipality that enters into the agreement in order to improve transparency;
  • State-wide minimum standards will be implemented and overseen by the Local Finance Board of the State Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and will be required to meet a thorough cost-benefit impact analysis;
  • Mandatory periodic reviews and reclassification of areas “in need of redevelopment” will be determined by the DCA;
  • Applications for abatements will be due 45-days before construction begins on a project. Entities that have sued the local municipality and granted relief for affordable housing projects using the builders’ remedy actions are not eligible;
  • The local tax listing will clearly identify redevelopment and rehabilitation abatements to promote transparency and permit proper review;
  • Annual municipal and state review and follow-up on developer performance will be required;
  • Approval from the Local Finance Board in the DCA will be required before any community can grant a PILOT. This will follow approvals granted by an affirmative vote by the local governing body, the county governing body, and local school board; and
  • All interested stakeholders will be notified and given an opportunity to testify before any abatement is granted.