Scharfenberger told MMM, "While this sounds radical, it's really not when you consider that NJ is one of only four or five states who still use this onerous, arcane system. Also, since the municipal portion of the property tax
bill only accounts for about one-fifth, the fact is, even if you closed the town down, fired everyone, did no road repairs or any other service, property taxes would still be unacceptably high."
"With the present system, property owners shoulder a disproportionate burden in funding education. Suburban property owners have it the worst since they pay for suburban schools and subsidize urban schools. Renters, or people who don't own property end up contributing a fraction of what property owners do to fund education."
"A more equitable way would be through a source that everyone contributes to, such as the sales tax. Imagine what cutting property taxes by two-thirds would do for the economy? It's an idea that is at least worth exploring."
The resolution, which will be voted on by the township committee on Monday evening, reads as follows:
RESOLUTION NO. 2010-210
TOWNSHIP OF MIDDLETOWN
COUNTY OF MONMOUTH
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING PROPERTY TAX RELIEF THROUGH
STATE ASSUMPTION OF PER PUPIL EDUCATIONAL COSTS
WHEREAS, the burden of regressive property taxes continues to plague our State’s citizens, businesses and hopes for economic recovery; and
WHEREAS, the property tax burden inevitably falls inequitably on those least able to pay; and
WHEREAS, property taxes levied to support public education consistently represent more than half of the property tax burden; and
WHEREAS, New Jersey’s Constitution calls for the State to ensure a ‘thorough and efficient’ system of public education for children between the ages of 5 and 18; and
WHEREAS, such a system can be achieved without further burdening our beleaguered property taxpayers, if the State assumes the per pupil costs methodology proposed by the Joint Legislative Committee on School Funding that takes into account such factors as grade level, geographic location, special educational needs and other criteria affecting the cost of educating each child; and
WHEREAS, such funding can be derived from some modification of the State’s broad-based taxing authority, ensuring greater progressivity based on ability to pay.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Committee of the Township of Middletown in the County of Monmouth, State of New Jersey that it does hereby support and endorse the effort of the Mayors’ Task Force for School Funding Reform to develop and promote remedial legislation to accomplish this goal and advocates removing all educational funding from the property tax and seek out other state revenue sources to assure our school children receive a thorough and efficient education; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Township Clerk is hereby directed to electronically transmit a certified copy of this Resolution to the Office of Governor Chris Christie, Senate President Steven Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, Senator Joseph Kyrillos, Assemblyman Sam Thompson, and Assemblywoman Amy Handlin.