New Jersey legislative Democrats express concern on "Cap 2.5" Amendment

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June 14, 2010

By Kyle Maichle

ROBBINSVILLE, New Jersey: As two weeks remain before the constitutionally mandated state budget deadline in New Jersey, Democrats who control the legislature have expressed concerns on Governor Chris Christie's plan to have a ballot question on the November ballot to control property taxes.

In the June 13, 2010 edition of the 'Morris Daily Record, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver refused to give a timetable if the "Cap 2.5" Amendment would be brought up to a vote in the legislature citing the state's budget as the first priority. Speaker Oliver also said that the proposed amendment has no exemptions for health care benefit increases and other factors including utilities that drive up costs for school districts. Oliver indicated that the only exemption in the amendment for debt service payments is not enough for local governments[1].

New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney said in a Wall Street Journal interview that a strict property tax cap would be too restrictive on local governments and in his opinion could lead to disastrous results. Senate President Sweeney further stated: "we start cutting police, and we start cutting firemen, and we start cutting services, and eventually you get to a point where we've got a community that's not nice to live in anymore." President Sweeney praised a four percent property tax cap passed by former Governor Jon Corzine that he claims that property tax increases are more predictable. Governor Christie has railed against the Corzine Administration's plan claiming that there were too many exemptions for local governments. Sweeney further criticized the first-year Governor saying that the proposed cap would force local governments to get more concessions from union workers[2].

When asked if the amendment would qualify for the ballot, Sweeney said: "I don't see it getting on the ballot."[2]

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