On the June 12 agenda, the Galloway Township Council placed a resolution to “call for the restoration of energy taxes to Municipalities and end the diversion of our municipal resources to cover State spending.” Subsequently, Governor Chris Christie used his veto power to reject the restoration of $331 million in municipal property tax relief funding.
Municipalities sacrificed that $331 million in 2009, 2010 and 2011 to support the state’s budget in those difficult years. As a result of the Governor’s veto, this year, as in the past, that money will again be used to support state spending.
Legislators from north and south Jersey from both parties supported the legislation to restore this money to the municipalities so that they could provide their residents with real property tax relief this year. This legislation would have moved closer to the intent of the 1999 law governing distribution of funds deposited in the Energy Tax Receipts Property Tax Relief account and the Consolidated Municipal Property Tax Relief Aid program, according to William Dressel, Executive Director of the NJ State League of Municipalities.
Despite the bi-partisan support throughout New Jersey, the entire state lost property tax relief with the Governor’s veto. Galloway is suffering from an abundance of property tax appeals which is adding to the current budget deficit. The restoration of this energy tax money could have been used to help our community in these challenging times. Unfortunately, Galloway citizens had no notification or comment from our elected leaders on the missed opportunity for real property tax relief.