Tag Archive: property taxes

Strengthening New Jersey’s Middle Class

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that the middle class has continued to shrink in the Garden State. As Governor Christie puts the finishing touches on tomorrow’s State of the State Address and works to complete his budget plans he must take seriously the need for strengthening and increasing our middle class. Discontent among the middle class is rising. There are steps he and the legislature can take.

Middle class is defined variously, but as a positional term it’s above lower class and below upper class. There has been attention recently on the lower class with the resulting increase in the minimum wage, concern over the safety net, higher ACA Medicaid enrollment, and an effort to restore NJ’s full Earned Income Tax Credit. There has also been a fixation and anger over the increasing wealth of the upper class. There has been less attention to the largest single group – the middle class.

One possible definition of the middle class is that it’s between 75% and 250% of the median household income of the area. In New Jersey the median household income is $71,629, so the range for a middle class household would be $54,000 to $179,000. Over 50% of NJ households fit into this range.

Below the fold are recommended solutions.

The table gets turned on Chris Christie

promoted by Rosi

In last night’s debate Barbara Buono essentially told Chris Christie to own his record, warts and all. The sentiment should have been painfully familiar to Chris Christie; he spent most of his 2009 campaign demanding that Jon Corzine take responsibility for a state economy decimated by the global recession. He spent the rest of that 2009 race making outlandish promises on the issues voters say they care about most: property taxes and jobs.

Now Senator Buono is very appropriately calling Christie to account for the yawning gap between what he promised voters and what he’s actually delivered.  

Trenton School Board Sues the State!

promoted by Rosi

As my colleague Sen. Shirley Turner told the Trentonian, the Trenton Board of Education will now be suing the State. They’re taking this step after almost a decade of community activists, parents, Trenton Central High School teachers and legislators trying to get the State funding to fix or to rebuild TCHS’s decaying structure.

This law suit is long overdue. Trenton has been on the waiting list for SDA (School Development Authority) funding for too long.  Sure, Trenton folks would like to pay for school construction projects on its own, but it gets little state funding now. Remember, suburban schools were offered 40% for their school construction costs while formerly-Abbott districts (30 urban schools) were promised 100%. Notwithstanding, if the State paid its fair share of property taxes on all its State buildings in the capital city it is estimated that it would be $40 million.  It used to do so in the form of PILOT (Payments-In-Lieu-Of-Property-Taxes), but it has eroded over time and under the current Administration there is no PILOT.  

“We will remember in November”

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I agree with Chris Christie’s position in 2009 when he refused to hold a special election because “no responsible governor at this point would call for a special election that cost ten million dollars.” And I am disappointed in the appellate court’s decision yesterday to reject our challenge to the Governor’s timing of the special election to fill the late Senator Frank Lautenberg’s seat.

Governor Christie has a responsibility to the taxpayers of this state. One need only look at the devastating effects of his budget cuts over the past four years to see where and how $12 million could help New Jersey’s taxpayers.

Remember this when you go to the polls first in August… and then in October… and again in November. Think about this when you read about the governor’s calls for ‘shared sacrifice’ and know that our property tax bills are too high, rebate checks too low, houses are going into foreclosure, unemployment is at a record high, police forces are being reduced, fire houses are closing, school budgets are slashed, and some elected officials are unresponsive.

The list is endless, the abuse of taxpayer dollars blatant, and the ambition of the governor’s reelection naked.

Today, let’s resolve to “remember in November.”