Updated April 24, 2017
Posted April 24, 2017
Like every election year, New Jersey's sky-high property taxes are atop the list of issues voters want their candidates for governor to tackle.
Once again, the Garden State was found to have the highest property taxes in the nation, which won't come as a shock to anyone who owns a home here.
In 2016, the average Jersey homeowner paid $8,549 per home, a 2.35 percent increase over the year prior, according to the most recent state calculations.
The reasons are myriad. Population density. Aging infrastructure. High cost-of-living. Higher labor costs. More than 1,100 towns and school districts. And New Jersey bans local income and sales taxes, which means that aside from state aid, it all comes from property taxes.
Guess who foots the outsized bill? You, dear homeowner.
With that in mind, we asked every candidate for governor for their plan on property taxes.
Here's how they answered.
By Salvador Rizzo • 04/24/17
Assemblymen Declan O’Scanlon, left, and Gary Schaer
At times, it seems like no one is satisfied with Gov. Chris Christie’s proposal to keep funding mostly flat for New Jersey’s school districts in the coming fiscal year.
Christie in February delivered a $35.5 billion budget proposal, which includes $13.8 billion in state aid for schools. That represents a $523 million increase in school funding over the current fiscal year, and critics say it’s mostly meaningless after being split up between 611 school districts trying to keep abreast of surging enrollment, airtight budgets or decaying facilities.
State Democratic lawmakers say that if Christie’s proposal goes through, it will mean that school districts will have received a 1.3 percent increase in funding — over eight years of his governorship — while local property taxes to support school districts will have increased $2.4 billion over the same period.
By Alyana Alfaro and Salvador Rizzo • 04/21/17
Johnson is one of the candidates in the 2017 New Jersey governor’s race.
Jim Johnson, the former undersecretary for enforcement at the U.S. Treasury, entered the New Jersey governor’s race in late 2016 after a winner was already called.
Since early October, the conventional wisdom from news reporters and pundits held that the Democratic primary—scheduled for June 6—was basically over because former U.S. Ambassador Phil Murphy had nabbed so many endorsements he was poised to become the state’s next governor.
To Johnson, Murphy’s coronation eight months before primary voters weighed in was “troubling” and a symptom of a wider problem with New Jersey’s transactional politics.
“From all sorts of people I heard the complaint that, ‘We don’t have a voice in the process. We are told who our leaders are. We aren’t electing them.’ That, to me, seemed profoundly wrong,” Johnson told Observer NJ. “I was pretty clear at that stage that I was going to run for governor but the idea that, even before the presidential election had been decided, folks were trying to figure out who the next governor would be, to me, was undemocratic and should have been challenged.”
So he mounted a challenge.
The Democratic Party in Essex was so powerful under Harry Lerner, sooner or later someone was going to come along and throw a punch to try to knock him off his throne.
That person proved to be the unlikely Peter Shapiro, the youngest ever person elected to the New Jersey General Assembly, who worked on the West Essex coalition that changed the county government charter to a county executive form. Up to that point, the nine county freeholders functioned as miniature county executives, each on charge of a separate fiefdom of government.
Lerner designated who served where.
That all changed in 1978, when Shapiro led a slate of reformers against the power structure and created the county executive position. Former Governor Tom Kean, Sr. of Livingston once described the office as the second most powerful position in the state. In that first election for the position, legendary Sheriff John Cryan (father of Union County Sheriff Joe Cryan) took a stab at the county executive’s seat, but so did then-Freeholder Donald Payne, Sr., who broke from the Democratic Party establishment to run his own candidacy.
By NICK CORASANITI
THE NEW YORK TIMES
APRIL 17, 2017
Gov. Chris Christie during a visit to Mid-State Correctional Facility at Fort Dix. The governor is plagued by low approval ratings as he heads into the final months of his term.
NEWARK — As the final months of his tenure in Trenton wind down, Gov. Chris Christie has kept himself conspicuously busy. He celebrated the opening of a new drug treatment facility. He delved into the intricacies of the Mets’ pitching rotation on a sports radio station. He dropped by the Prudential Center to warn children about the dangers of drug addiction.
This is not how he thought it would end, running out the calendar with largely dutiful tasks.
“Well, one, I thought I might be president,” he said in an extended interview in his office this month, “so that’s a fairly material change.”
With a 20 percent approval rating that secures his place among the most unliked governors in New Jersey history, Mr. Christie enters the final nine months of his administration, which began in 2010, as a governor in a dimming twilight.
Updated April 17, 2017
Posted April 17, 2017
By Claude Brodesser-Akner and Brent Johnson | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
It's an issue that has been unresolved for years: New Jersey, the state with the nation's highest property taxes, still allows government workers to collect large payouts for unused sick days.
Such a system is rare in the private sector. But a report by NJ Spotlight released last last month showed public workers in school districts, towns, and counties across New Jersey are owed almost $1.9 billion for unused sick days when they retire.
The state Legislature passed a bill in 2010 to put a $15,000 cap on payouts, but Gov. Chris Christie vetoed it, saying he wanted to end the practice, not just scale it back.
At least 15 bills have been introduced in the Legislature since then to tackle the issue, but its Democratic leaders have not put them up for votes.
Here is where the 11 Democratic and Republican candidates running this year to succeed Christie as New Jersey's governor stand on how to address unused sick day payouts:
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on April 10, 2017
Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (left) and state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (right) are shown in file photos.
TRENTON -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli on Monday survived an attempt by rival Kim Guadagno to knock him off the GOP primary ballot.
Supporters of Guadagno, New Jersey's lieutenant governor, filed a complaint that questioned the validity of more than 700 petition signatures Ciattarelli had handed in to qualify for the June 6 primary for the GOP nod to succeed Gov. Chris Christie, who is in his final year in office.
But an administrative law judge on Monday threw out only about 180 of those signatures, which wasn't enough to boot Ciattarelli, a member of the state Assembly from Somerset County.