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.”
Galloway Democratic Club President