Measure would force N.J. to return energy receipt taxes to towns

A New Jersey lawmaker is proposing a constitutional amendment that would require taxes collected on utility company switchyards and generating stations be returned to the towns where those installations are located.

Currently, most of the funds are diverted to balance the state budget.

Making sure that towns get the energy receipts tax money will ease the burden on local property taxpayers, said Wayne DeAngelo.

“When the municipality receives a couple million dollars more towards their revenue it kind of displaces the taxes,” said DeAngelo, D-Mercer. “That along with the cap ensures stability in local property taxes.”

East Windsor was shortchanged by almost $3 million last year, said Mayor Janice Mironov.

“The No. 1 public enemy in the state of New Jersey is high property taxes,” she said. “So these monies, which have been taken from towns and belong to local property taxpayers need to be returned.”

Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a previous effort by lawmakers to return the energy tax dollars to towns.

DeAngelo said a constitutional amendment would prevent elected officials from diverting the money, which is estimated to add up to $400 million over five years.

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