Mayors seek New Jersey’s help to rein taxes

Mayors from around New Jersey are calling on Trenton to do more to help them control property taxes.

About 200 mayors met with legislative leaders at the Statehouse Wednesday to make their case. They said cuts in state aid are making it difficult to stay within the 2 percent property tax cap required by law. They’re urging the state to enact pension and health benefit reforms.

Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Lori Grifa told the mayors she is pushing for pension reforms and more sharing of local services.

“While we all hope that the economy is going to grow and it’ll get a little bit better and we’ll grow our way out of it, I don’t know that we can all afford to wait for that,” she said. “Slashing and cutting is not going to be enough.”

Somerdale Mayor Gary Passanante cautioned pension and health benefit reforms will not be enough to resolve concerns about property taxes.

“We need to be more frugal and smart about how we spend our monies,” he said. “The fact of the matter is it’s not going to fix the problem when you have such a reliance on property tax to fund state government. It just isn’t going to work.”

The mayors would like to see changes in the state’s tax structure to end the reliance on property taxes to fund local governments and schools.

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