Pennacchio: Jersey City’s New Plan is ‘Too Little, Too Late’ After Years of PILOT Abuse

Joe Pennacchio (left) and Tom Kean Jr. (right)

PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) remains one of the driving yet popularly unknown forces driving property taxes in New Jersey.

One of the prime offenders? Jersey City which is now pledging to share some of its tax abatement revenue with the local school district. The plan is to share 10% of the annual take but does NOT include current PILOTs.

Jersey City collects $420 million per year in state aid notwithstanding its ongoing housing boom.

Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris, Passaic, Essex) isn’t impressed.

“I and my Senate Republican colleagues have been pushing for PILOT money to go to local schools for years. We even included it our proposal for school funding reforms just last week,” said Senator Pennacchio, who also serves as Vice-Chair of the Senate Select Committee on School Funding Fairness. “So, it’s great to see Mayor Fulop seriously consider our suggestion, but Jersey City owes it to its students to contribute more instead of leaving the rest of the state’s taxpayers stuck with the bill.”

Pennacchio and his colleagues on the GOP side of the aisle have proposed distributing tax abatement revenue in proportion to property taxes to guarantee fair apportionment.

“Jersey City and other municipalities have gamed the school funding formula for years,” Pennacchio added. “Mayor Fulop’s grand gesture of returning a fraction of their future abatement tax money to the school district is too little, too late. That ship has sailed. I believe no less than 100-percent of ratables and their taxes should be included in any formula the Committee on School Funding Fairness puts out. Pay your fair share Mayor; my towns do.”

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