Steve Fulop is running for governor in 2025, news that isn’t a surprise to anyone with even a cursory interest in New Jersey politics. The Jersey City Democrat mayor’s amibition is rivaled only by the neighboring New York City skyline.
You should expect Fulop to discuss his own town’s skyline – and claim credit for it – throughout his own campaign for however long we’re plagued by ‘Fulop 2025.’
As of last summer, Jersey City’s rental market was more expensive than Manhattan’s.
So last week’s soft rollout was accompanied by a video notable for more than the usual stuff: 9/11, his military service, and a gaggle of alleged Jersey City residents (of every ethnic background, obviously) singing their guy’s praises. Among the bragging points – remember, this is a Democrat primary – were paid family leave for city employees, a $15 minimum wage, and the glory of “Wall Street West” under Fulop’s leadership…
Of course, for as long as Fulop as been angling for the top job in New Jersey politics, this website has covered the incredibly expensive lie underpinning Jersey City’s prosperity and pricey social experiments: PILOT.
For many, many years, Jersey City grew in large part because property taxes were disproportionately reasonable relative to the fact that the city is “prime real estate.” That’s because of “payment in lieu of taxes” agreements that promoted development but kept the tax burden for Jersey City correspondingly low. The difference was made up by STATE AID.
That’s right… you, and me, and all of us who don’t live in Jersey City were nevertheless sending hundreds of millions of dollars annually to one of the wealthiest municipalities in the state.
“Jersey City and other municipalities have gamed the school funding formula for years,” State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) lameneted back in 2027. “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.”
Subsequent Fulop “reform” gestures didn’t put a dime back in my pocket or anyone else’s other than developers and residents living beyond their means. Governor Murphy’s FY 2024 budget proposal still included $133.6 million for a city with one-bedroom apartments goes for $3,000+.
There are dozens or perhaps hundreds of New Jersey mayors who could work miracles with hundreds of millions of dollars in “free” money annually.
A scam? Mirage? Illusion? Sleight of hand?
Semantics. Whatever you want to call it, Steven Fulop’s Jersey City of today isn’t a product of governing genius. We paid for it. You and I. Let’s see if any of his future Democrat competitors raise the issue. If not, I’m fairly certain a hypothetical GOP opponent will.