The Property Tax Problem: Where Do Your GOP Candidates Stand?

There isn’t a single bigger problem facing New Jersey taxpayers than ever-skyrocketing property tax bills.

Governor Chris Christie’s porous Cap 2.0 plan slowed the bleeding but, without additional reforms, ultimately failed to cure the patient.

Where do this year’s possible Republican successors come down on the BIG issue?

Here’s a very brief round-up of what we know:

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Kim Guadagno and Jack Ciatterelli signs inside the Old Bridge High School auditorium

Kim Guadagno

Lt. Governor Guadagno’s brand new property tax ‘circuit breaker’ plan kicks in when “the school portion of a homeowner’s property tax liability exceeds 5% of their yearly household income,” in which event “[t]he homeowner will receive a direct credit on their tax bill for any amount exceeding the 5% threshold.” The plan applies solely to primary residences and there’s a $3,000 cap on the credit (you can get more info here).

Guadagno has yet to unveil a specific school funding plan but says that’ll be a big part of an ultimate solution as will other reforms including tackling sick leave payouts for public employees and, of course, promoting more shared services at the municipal level.

Jack Ciattarelli

It’s not surprising that a CPA harbors more than a few tax-related pet peeves, but Ciattarelli’s tax reform proposals include two very narrow proposed changes directly related to property taxes:

  • Stop taxing gains on the sale of primary residences and second homes; and
  • Eliminate property tax increases for home improvements.

Ciattarelli is also shopping a detailed school funding reform package which would include reining in PILOT abuse and targeting excess aid to many of the former ‘Abbott districts.’ More details right over here.

Hirsh Singh

Perhaps the most straightforward in his approach, Singh wants to (1) freeze property tax increases and (2) cap New Jersey’s property tax at 75% above the national average (the current national average is around $2,127 whereas the average New Jersey homeowner paid $8,549 in 2016).

How will Singh pay for this massive cut which would bring the average tax bill down to $3,722? He supports something substantially similar to the Christie fair funding formula whereby each school child would receive a flat state aid amount (Christie’s number was $6,599 per student).

Steve Rogers

The Nutley Commissioner is an unapologetic supply-sider who doesn’t believe fixing property taxes starts with fixing property taxes; before touching property taxes, he wants to cut New Jersey’s current income, sales and gas tax rates (repealing last year’s gas tax hike). He also wants to scrap the deeply-unpopular PAARC examinations and root out waste.

Joe Rullo

Not unlike Rogers, Rullo focuses on the revenues and spending side of the ledger. Specifically? The Ocean County social media activist would endeavor to cut waste in the education system, reduce the number of school superintendents and legalize (and tax) marijuana.

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