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Governor's Visit Offers Council a Chance to Discuss Energy Taxes

That's what Galloway Democratic Club President Kevin Krumaker would like to see following a council resolution on Tuesday night's agenda.

To the Editor:

Galloway citizens should be happy to see that Galloway Council has placed a resolution on the June 12 agenda to “call for the restoration of energy taxes to Municipalities and end the diversion of our municipal resources to cover State spending.” In addition to a resolution, Council can do more by addressing the issue directly with Governor Christie when he is in Galloway this week.

The “energy” money in question is tax revenue, called energy tax receipts, collected from energy utilities for the use of public lands and the government services they receive, such as police and fire protection.  

The money once was collected by individual towns, but the state took over with the promise that the revenue would be returned to the communities as part of their annual state aid awards.  

Over time, the state — through its annual budget and appropriations law — has been keeping larger shares of the revenues, and most of the 1 billion plus collected is being diverted to the state’s general fund at the expense of towns, which have endured reduced or flat aid awards.

Governor Christie’s proposed 2012-13 budget calls for municipal aid to remain largely flat at $1.34 billion. The NJ League of Municipalities is pushing for an additional $330 million, less than 1 percent of the $32 billion budget, which would return municipal funding awards to 2007 levels.

Galloway would be able to apply a large portion of any additional aid to lowering local property taxes. Earlier this year Galloway Council passed a $24.2 million budget that carries a 1.7¢ tax rate increase along with utilizing the school deferral tax. That translates into a significant budget hole that will need filling for 2013-2014.  

On Wednesday, I would expect the Council members who will attend the Governor’s Town Hall meeting to advocate for Galloway citizens by calling on the Governor to restore the “Energy Tax to Municipalities.”

Kevin Krumaker

Galloway Democratic Club President

Diogenes June 11, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Good luck, Mr. Krumaker, but I don't predict that you will have any success. Our state politicians are notorious for misappropriating funds and taxes that are collected for other purposes, and stashing the money in the general fund of the state budget. The toll increases on the turnpike and GSP, toll increases on the tunnels up north, a significant portion of the Motor Vehicle Commission revenue, the utiliies taxes, and on and on. If a private citizen did this in his company, he would probably be up on charges of misappropriation of funds. Oh, and don't forget that governors and state legislators of both parties over the past twenty years, at least since Christie Whitman, have not met their obligations regarding the state's contributions to the pension funds. The money was used for politicians' projects and to balance the state budget. But our politicians, led by Sweeney, Christie and unelected King George Norcross III and his brother Donald, "remedied" the deficit problem by suspending COLAs for the retirees, who are once again asked to balance the state budget out of their pockets and pensions. and the state is still not currently meeting its full yearly contribution obligations to the pension funds. But, as I said, good luck!
Donna Ann Thomas June 11, 2012 at 07:43 PM
This is one of the head-scratching things about Christie, etc. complaining about teachers' and other government workers' pensions. The state has been raiding the pension funds for years to pay for budget items and special projects. If the pension funds go broke, no doubt the gov would blame the unions instead of looking in the mirror.
Bill Povse June 11, 2012 at 11:27 PM
There is a fee every electric company customer is charged on thier monthly bill that goes into a state fund for giving low cost loans for energy conservation projects and to give rebates for buying energy star products. In Dec Christie moved $220 mil from that fund to the states general fund to help balance the budget. Either that money should have been spent on what it was ment for or it shouldnt have been collected. The fee went from an energy surcharge to an energy tax on all electric company customers.
Diogenes June 12, 2012 at 06:07 PM
The state of New Jersey has the power to levy taxes and fees. . They do this for a variety of stated reasons when they approve legislation and collect the taxes. However, the state is not obligated to spend the money collected for the purposes stated, and frequently diverts the tax money to other purposes in the budget. It is time for our brave legislators to institute a "truth in taxing" law that would safeguard that our tax money and fees are being spent for the purposes stated in the legislation, and not be diverted to other purposes.
Kevin Krumaker June 14, 2012 at 05:08 AM
I was disappointed that Galloway's elected leaders present at the Town Hall meeting did not address their call for the restoration on the "Enery Tax" to the municipalities. The money belonged to the towns until 1997, when a law signed by Gov. Whitman shifted responsibility for collecting that money to the state. The "Energy Tax" money collected by the state should be returned to the municipalities to help reduce our property taxes and not to fill their budget holes.
Diogenes June 14, 2012 at 05:30 AM
Mr. Krumaker: If, after lobbying for the Governor to come to Galloway, our elected Mayor and members of Council did not speak up on our behalf, then shame on them. Regardless of party, our representatives should not have attended simply to stand in the penumbra of the governor's rather large politcal shadow, but to speak up for the needs of the citizens of our township, county and state. The purpose of the town hall meetng, which I did deliberately did not attend, should not be to give give loud hosannas to the governor but to speak up for the needs of our township and county's citizens.
VTPat June 14, 2012 at 09:20 AM
Don't want to hear them crying about the state at council meetings? Then attend and hold their feet to the fire. Tell them to run "Galloway like a business" as they promised....LOL

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