Property Taxes Up 20 Percent Under Christie

Property taxes are eating up a larger share of family income under Gov. Chris Christie than under previous governors, primarily due to a sharp reduction in direct property tax relief over the past two years. In fact, net property taxes are 20 percent higher under Christie than they were when Democrat Jon Corzine left office two years ago.

With property tax credits and rebates included, the average New Jersey homeowner paid $7,519 in net property taxes last year — compared with $6,244 in 2009 — according to statistics released by the state Department of Community Affairs on Friday.

That $1,275 increase represents a 20.4 percent hike in net property taxes — which is the amount of money that the average New Jersey household actually pays in property taxes after property tax rebates or property tax credits are subtracted.

While Christie has been touting his success in holding overall property tax increases to 2.4 percent, the bigger issue is the cut in direct property tax relief. Average property tax rebates topped $1,000 in each of Corzine’s final three years in office, offsetting more than 14 percent of the average property tax bill. In comparison, Christie’s direct property tax credit covered just 3 percent of last year’s tax bill.

Under Christie, the average New Jersey household is spending well over 11 percent of its income on property taxes — compared with between 8 percent and 9.25 percent under the five previous governors and a national average of less than 3 percent.

Here are local average property taxes according to
Millburn $19,989
Glen Ridge $17,218
Montclair $16,392
South Orange $15,682
Maplewood $13,118
West Orange $11,822
Bloomfield $9,356

Read the rest of the story here. Photo by Andrew Magill via Flickr.

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  1. This is what we’ve learned to call “an inherited problem.” We all know the analogy about how hard it is to turn an ocean liner. It is wrongheaded to argue that the bigger issue is property tax relief or rebates. It is the overall level of taxes. Thats’ like saying we’ll tax you to death and then give you some back if you fall into one category or another. Wrong focus. Rebates are the pimple on the butt of the problem which is the actual level of the taxes, and which is determined at the local level last time I checked. Nice try, but very partisan and disingenuous.

  2. Getting rid of County governments is a good first step. Getting rid of paid pensions, fully-paid health care, and other benefit-providing contracts with state, county, and municipal workers is a great second step. Since neither of those things are likely to happen during the remainder of my lifetime, getting my a** out of New Jersey seems to be the only alternative.
    Anyone else feel they are in the same (soon to depart) boat?

  3. What’s the breakdown? Property taxes collected fund the municipal tax, the county tax and the local school tax (plus open space tax if you have one).

    Municipal budgets also fund the state worker health plan, workman’s comp and state retirement plan. The town gets a bill from the state for those, with no appeal for the amount. Endless state unfunded mandates cost towns and school boards money, employee work time and filing expenses.

    The problem is not what the state may or may not give back, it is what it takes in the first place.

  4. from the article in the link:

    Overall, the ever-increasing rebates offset almost one-third of New Jersey’s runaway property tax increases between 1999 and 2009, when average property taxes jumped $3,038 — or 71 percent – from $4,243 to $7,281. A nine-fold increase in rebates, however, held down the net increase to $2,112 and the net tax bill to $6,244.

    Exactly, you must suspend any understanding of economics to come away with a conclusion like the headline suggests. the rebates are not free, they are funded by income taxes. Moreover the high level of rebates takes away accountability of municipalities to manage their financesresponsibly because they know the “net” number is all people will focus on and have become reliant on the subsidy.

  5. Property taxes are set by the local government, not the state. This headline is disingenuous to imply that Governor Christie alone bears responsibility for property tax increases. C’mon Baristanet, you can do better.

  6. Hear, hear, Conan…hopefully, we’ll be on the same boat outta here once I retire, should I live that long. I anticipate working until my bones turn to dust if I have to live here. Seriously looking at So. Cal.

    But the irony is that several friends who have made the pilgrimage to the “Promised Land” of palm trees, orange groves and idyllic weather are thinking about coming back! I asked one friend why in the world would you ever come back here (unless by court order) to the land of high taxes and crappy weather? She replied that unless you are of retirement age or independently wealthy, the job market in CA is kinda sucky.

    So, as much as we bitch and moan about living here, the job market here is still better than in many other parts of the country.

  7. Part of the issue is that when Christie dramatically cut state funding for local schools (in many cases by 100%) the towns had to increase property taxes to make up the difference. Anyone paying attention could have told you his policies were going to lead to this.

  8. Me too, Conan.
    I have a few things to accomplish to make my house marketable and as soon as I can sell it, I’m gone.
    Mrs. Martta, I have sons living in Santa Monica and Riverside and would love to have a place out there but it’s pretty pricey to live there. I think we’re heading to the Carolinas with frequent visits to California. I wish one of them lived in wine country.

  9. Howard:

    My brother and SIL, both retired, live in Palm Desert and to me, it’s the closest place to Heaven on Earth, climate-wise and pace-of-life-wise. They pay lower property taxes than me and their home, in a gated community, is newer than mine and has a pool! What is wrong with this picture?

  10. There’s nothing more Jersey than griping about Jersey taxes. But it’s still Jersey. That’s why we’re still here.

  11. While, as some have pointed out, it is a bit misleading to pin this all on Governor Christie, he certainly deserves his share of the blame – that said, there really should be no surprise on anyones part – nothing he said he would do as a candidate (and certainly nothing he’s actually done) was (is) likely to have any serious impact on our outrageously high property taxes.

    as I wrote in 2009*:

    New Jersey’s Property Taxes are the highest in the nation. Every four years the candidates for governor promise to reduce property taxes, and once elected governor, those promises are forgotten. (Remember Jon Corzine’s “40% in 4” promise to increase your property tax rebate to
    40% in four years?)

    The only way we can bring NJ’s property taxes under control is to deal with the cause. Property taxes in NJ are actually at least three taxes (School Taxes, Municipal Taxes and County Taxes) rolled into one –

    A. School Taxes. Real property-tax reform will not happen until our out-of-control Supreme Court is removed from the school-funding process, and the only way that can happen is to change the NJ State Constitution.

    B. Municipal Taxes. Fully-fund or eliminate legislative and administrative mandates on our municipalities.

    C. County Taxes. Reduce or eliminate County Government.


  12. You are absolutely right, Carl. I think what happens is that once they get into office and start dealing with “the political machine,” they see how challenging it is, especially points A and C.

    In the four years that I’ve lived in West Orange, our local government has not raised municipal taxes, so kudos to them. But that leaves us with point A, not impossible, but improbable; and C, more possible, but not without a lot of squawking and beeping from those who with cushy county government positions.

  13. Several good points above regarding the state’s abdication from education funding, municipal funding, etc. which require local districts to raise their taxes. One thing’s sure: Christie’s promised 10% reduction in income taxes (without increasing revenue to pay for it) is going to cause property & other taxes to rise further. And I’ve said this before: look at your pay stub to see what you’re actually paying in state taxes. A 10% reduction or an increase for that matter is chump change compared to the effects of cuts to your municipality in state funding.
    Accusations of this fact being partisan are wrong.

  14. Why do I suspect that, had property taxes gone down, the governor and his supporters would be happily taking the credit.

    But if they’ve gone up, its not his fault.

    Of course.

    The fact of the matter is that the governor made many campaign promises centered on lowering property taxes. If in fact he is powerless to do this, one can fairly ask why he promised to do it.

  15. Kit, if you think what gets taken out of my gross for NJ state income taxes in chump change, I offer you this deal.

    a. YOU pay it for me and b. let me keep more of what I earn.

    Or you can take just b.

  16. There is plenty of blame to go around. The Governor. The Legislature. The Supreme Court. The NJ Press.

    But ultimately, the responsibility falls on the citizens. Those who don’t vote, and those who cheer and applaud and vote for these snake-oil salespeople when they promise what an educated consumer should know can’t be delivered.

  17. As we get closer to the election for a mayor and council for Montclair, anyone wanna bet Baristanet will run a headline like “Montclair Property Taxes Increased XX% Under Candidate X”?

  18. California scares me a little bit — having worked contracts there a few times in the last 20 years, it appears to me that the tax-capping propositions in place are truly undermining the entire infrastructure from top to bottom, and when the bubble bursts, the State will go spinning down the drain in one frightening whoosh! And that doesn’t even take into consideration the mudslides, forest fires, floods, and monster earthquakes.

  19. Don’t want to pay high property taxes? Rent, like I do. I pay less for a 3 br apt. in Upper Montclair than the average home owner’s tax bill. Added bonus, my kids get what amounts to a free education, I enjoy the very good quality of life that Montclair affords me, and the savings over owning (mortgage, repairs, taxes, etc.) I stockpile so that when they graduate (in 4 years) I can move out of this ridiculously taxed state to one of the 49 other states that have lower property taxes and enjoy twice the home for half the money.

  20. Way to go fistfull!
    You’ll leave here WITH a fistfullofcash.
    And the rest of us will be left to shore up the infrastructure from the vacumn left behind when you make your escape!

  21. Right on Carl. It’s the electorate who are the problem. It’s crazy that Bloomfield elected McTaxme for what, his 100th term? How is that possible?

    Can’t afford to stay & can’t afford to leave.

    Barkeep, another shot please.

  22. Christie deserves enormous credit for taking on the tax and spend democrats and the public employee unions that sponsor them. We have some of the highest income tax rates and highest property tax rates in the country. These taxes are destroying property values and people’s savings plans. It’s a straight income and wealth transfer from productive citizens to current and retired state and municipal employees. If we don’t support Chris Christie, New Jersey will end up like Greece. But don’t count on taxpayers in Indiana and Texas to bail us out like the Germans and French are bailing out Greece.

  23. If we re-elect Obama America will become Greece!!

    If you don’t support Christie New Jersey will become Greece!!


    Half of these folks couldn’t find Greece on a map, have no idea how the Greek economy is structured or how the Euro zone actually operates, and couldn’t tell the difference between ouzo and orzo.


    Could be worse, I guess. Could be Myanmar.

  24. Greece is pretty nice, actually, bmk645. You might enjoy visiting it there – beautiful beaches, great food, museums, etc.
    Unbeatable central location – you can fly from there to many other fine destinations in Europe, the Mid East and North Africa in the time it takes many of your Jersey neighbors to drive to work.

  25. We do have a lot of Greek diners in the area. And from what I hear the Jersey legislature is thinking of paying its pensions obligations in drachma.

  26. Good points, bebopgun, but weighing a potential trip to the Greek Islands based on one’s experience at a Jersey diner is similar to weighing a potential trip to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence based on one’s assessment of Snooki.

  27. I’m not buying this article either. How can we blame it on Christie when we watch our town government do very little to show fiscal restraint. The town didn’t get transitional aid from the state, because the government didn’t apply for it. The debt has to come down. The focus has been primarily on self interest items.

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