Wednesday, February 11, 2009

We Need Property Tax Relief

If those in the State Government would make it affordable for people to stay in their homes, the need for more affordable housing would be cut considerably, and would allow for more available units to those who need it.

Seniors on fixed incomes, who have paid off their mortgages, cannot afford the increased taxes, and have had to give up their homes. The elderly are more susceptible to losing their homes, more so than any other group. If they were able to stay in their homes we would not have to construct as many senior affordable housing units.

Most people if given the option would like to stay in their homes, neighborhoods, near their families and friends.

With state aid being cut, municipalities are forced to raise local taxes to make up for the shortfall. It may help the municipalities, but it doesn’t help the taxpayers.

We need to cut property taxes substantially, not the meager tax breaks here and there. Many people when they bought their homes could afford it. It isn’t the mortgages that are strangling many of our homeowners, it is the property taxes. Many homeowners can afford their mortgage payments; they just can’t keep pace with every tax increase that comes along, affecting renters as well.

I believe that is the reason many school budgets are voted down, people can no longer afford to stay in their homes as it is without incurring additional burdens.

When NJ raises other taxes, to replace lost property tax revenue, it’s more of a tax shift than a tax cut. Raising the sales tax to 7% from 6% was supposed to give us property tax relief. Roll the sales tax back to 6%; the so called 1% increase that was to help bring the state’s financial mess stability sure didn’t help, other than to take more money out of the taxpayer’s pocket.

Property taxes have risen 27% since 2000, less than the 41% inflation-adjusted increase in home values, but it's twice as fast as the growth in sales or income taxes. Property taxes now consume a greater share of personal income than any other time in New Jersey’s history. How long before the taxes will equal more than the value of your home? Those who bought homes years ago are finding their property taxes are more than their monthly mortgage payments.

How many times are we going to hear from our legislators, “if elected I will cut taxes?” They should have been doing that all along. Cutting taxes and increasing state spending is not what I call fiscal management.

We can’t continue to raise taxes for the working class, at a rate faster than their ability to pay. If we need to restructure how property taxes are collected, stop talking about it, let’s do it.

Raising taxes, forcing people out of their homes and making it unaffordable to purchase a home is not the answer. It's bad for homeowners, renters, and business.

Flat tax, Fair Tax it doesn’t matter, now is the time to do something, anything but the way it is being done currently, the state needs to put disposable funds back into the pockets of the people if they expect to stimulate the economy. Stop taking money out of the pockets of those who need it the most, give them the capitol to spend, donate, contribute and save. Then, and only then will you see the results of a growing economy.

A real collective bipartisan effort is needed from those in the state capitol, to give relief to the people who put them in office.

By limiting the amount government can tax our property; perhaps with a constitutional cap will we be able to have substantial relief.

Whatever the solution is, we need to act now.

~ Joe Sinagra

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