Tax cut? Fuggetaboutit!

3/15/2010 UPDATE:

Hoboken tax cut promises vanish

Beware – the Ides of March, and “reform” politicians promising tax cuts. In case you missed our recap of last week’s Special Council Meeting, the proposed Hoboken city tax cut for FY2010 has been revised downward to 0.5 percent. That’s not a typo. The decrease is only a half-percent, and that’s an overall average. If you didn’t successfully challenge your tax assessment last year, your taxes will be going UP.

But wait, I was promised a 25% tax cut!

Dawn Zimmer and her council candidates Ravi Bhalla, Carol Marsh and David Mello, all claimed they had “a detailed plan to cut municipal taxes by 25% in the first year alone.” Instead, they plan to give you nothing. In response to criticism of their broken tax promises, the Mayor’s message minions are now trying to sell the idea that Zimmer and Co. never actually promised to cut taxes. For those trying to re-write history, we present this piece of original campaign literature as a reminder of promises made, and promises broken.

Not happy with a 0.5% tax cut? The city holds its official public hearing for your comments on the FY2010 budget Wednesday night at 7pm. It’ll happen right after “Cake Boss” Buddy Valestro gets a proclamation from the City Council.

Still not convinced Dawn Zimmer actually promised a 25% tax cut? Hear it from Mayor Zimmer herself after the jump. Also hear Councilman Michael Lenz explain how the public really didn’t want a tax cut anyway. Yeah, right!

2/3/2010 Update:

Oh my, how they’re changing their tune!

Lenz defends Zimmer Team’s broken promise to cut taxes 25%

The 1st and 2nd quarter city tax bills started showing up in mailboxes this week.

Once again there’s no tax relief in sight, and people are getting angry. Voters promised a 25% property tax cut by Dawn Zimmer and her “Change That Works Team” are feeling betrayed.

Hoboken Dawn Zimmer Campaign Promise Tax Cut FAIL

Are taxpayers upset? Not according to 4th ward Councilman Michael Lenz. At last weekend’s farcical all-day “budget workshop,” Lenz said he didn’t think people voted for his allies on the City Council “to reduce taxes,” so taxpayers won’t be upset when their bills don’t drop after last year’s 47% tax increase:

That might come as a surprise to you if you believed Dawn Zimmer when she made a 25% property tax cut the lynchpin of her Mayoral campaign. Here’s Zimmer’s budget statement during the POG debate:

Nothing about the FY2010 budget has significantly changed since Zimmer made that statement. Facts in evidence about the budget then are the same ones today. There have been no surprise unknowns that have derailed her alleged plan “To reduce municipal taxes by 25% in the first year alone.” What does Lenz have to say now about that 25% tax cut?

The bottom line is: there is no tax relief in this budget.

Just take a look at your tax bill. It’s all there in black and white, as the city takes more of your green than ever. But not to worry. Michael Lenz says you weren’t really voting for tax relief so you won’t be surprised when you don’t get any.

Is he right or wrong? Share your thoughts below in the comments section, and see more truth about the budget after the jump!

1/8/2010:

The Hoboken budget debacle keeps getting worse!

If you believed the hype you’d be getting a substantial tax cut this year, think again!

Hoboken411 has been warning your that the city’s political power players have been misleading you with their tax relief promises. Now – over halfway through the fiscal year – they are finally coming clean with the reality that has been on THIS website all along.

You expect a tax cut? Fiscal Monitor Judy Tripodi is now channeling Judge Smails, “You’ll get nothing and like it!”

No Hoboken Tax Decrease Judy Tripodi baxter

Here are the updated (and increased) numbers coming out of City Hall based on an “average” property assessment of $160,000:

  • FY2009 (July 2008-June 2009) City Taxes: $3,285
  • FY2010 (June 2009-July 2010) City Taxes PROPOSED: $3,024
  • FY2010 City Taxes INCLUDING additional $4.2 million charge: $3,244

That’s right. The supposedly “temporary, one-time” 47% tax hike is here to stay. Add the $32 open space tax (which was only collected part of last year) and your city taxes on $160,000 assessed value will total $3,276. A mere 9 dollars separates the average FY2009 tax bill from FY2010. How did this happen?

Tripodi leaves $4.2 million bill out of her budget

The political games played by Tripodi, Mayor Dawn Zimmer and the City Council are about to hit you in the wallet, again. You were promised a 25% Tax Cut by Zimmer and Councilpersons Marsh, Mello and Bhalla. Now the latest word from City Hall is your tax bill won’t change much at all. Why? Because the post-election budget numbers Tripodi finally had her hand-picked Finance Director Nick Trasente present to the council had a glaring $4.2 million omission.

It was almost a year ago the State of New Jersey told the City of Hoboken that it would be on the hook for the $4.2 million cost to the state incurred by the early retirement incentive plan billed as a “cost cutter” by former Mayor David Roberts. Tripodi has known about this bill longer than anyone because she was the one who blew the whistle to the state. The question has always been not if, but WHEN the bill would be paid.

Not a surprise at all!

The pension penalty has been there for almost a year…

Zimmer – who approved the buyouts with her vote on the council – issued a statement last February saying she was concerned the $4.2 million bill would have had to be paid as soon as last spring on top of the 47% tax increase caused by years of Roberts’ overspending. The state pension fund has been waiting or payment for nearly a year, but Tripodi and Trasente left the money OUT of their FY2010 budget proposal. Why? Critics say it was so they could introduce the myth of an 8% tax cut for the year. After all, Tripodi had been embarrassed by people who were calling her and Zimmer out for “hiding” a budget that should have been introduced months before the November election. As pressure on Zimmer became almost too much to bear ahead of the election, Tripodi throw the Acting Mayor a life preserver by saying taxes would be cut and that Zimmer wasn’t “hiding” the budget. She timed this just days before the election.

Zimmer budget cut debacle no hoboken tax cut 2010 NJ

Ineffective Tripodi double dips with salary & public pension

Remember Tripodi was the choice of former Department of Community Affairs Commissioner – and disgraced HCDO powerplayer Joe Doria for the Hoboken Fiscal Monitor position. Tripodi was allowed to retire from her $93,925 a year state government job to take the $130,000-a-year contract in Hoboken. A bureaucrat who first enrolled in the state pension system in 1981, Tripodi is now enjoying an annual pension of $50,383 a year on top of the $130k from Hoboken taxpayers, as well as the power to unilaterally hire colleagues like Trasente, who makes $125,000 a year, and new Tax Collector Sharon Curran, among others. Two years in Hoboken will yield Tripodi $260,000 plus public jobs for those she hired. She was also in the unique position to say and do things that could effect elections.

You surprised? Not if you were paying attention!

You can’t say nobody warned you. While Hoboken411 was bringing you the facts as best as possible about Tripodi and the budget, Zimmer and her campaign team were launching pathetic smear blogs and co-opting tax “reform” groups for political gain. People who actually looked at the numbers and called a spade a spade were slandered and libeled in the name of “reform.”

Will the public come to the upcoming budget hearings and demand the tax cut they were promised? Or just roll over again just like they did for Dave Roberts for so many, many years?

Time will tell. The clock is ticking.

Leave a Reply

95 Comments on "Tax cut? Fuggetaboutit!"


Member
upyurs
5 years 5 months ago

WE WERE LIED TO. WHERE IS OUR 25% TAX DECREASE?

Member
upyurs
5 years 5 months ago

WE WERE LIED TO. WHERE IS OUR 25% TAX DECREASE.

Member
5 years 5 months ago

Anyone have any knowledge of assessments?

I checked tax record for my 516 sq. ft. condo (renovated in 2007) and it was assessed on record as: 81,700. Purchase price: $257,000.

I did the math and imputed value came ou to be 300,810.15

I had it assessed a few months back (when doing CHASE refinancing) and it was appraised at $290,000.

So seems like I’m being over-assessed $131 a year. I know its not much but I don’t want to pay this crooked city a dollar more than legally owed.

Do these numbers sound about right?

Member
mookie
5 years 5 months ago

Here comes your big property tax increase:

The Christie crowd is also pushing a state constitutional amendment that would cap property taxes at 2.5 percent annually. But that wouldn’t take effect until the following year. In the meantime, state law allows the district to raise taxes by an amount equal to any state aid reduction, said Chatham schools superintendent Jim O’Neill.

—————————————-

Gov. Chris Christie to suburbs: Drop dead
March 16, 2010
The Star-Ledger

If you are a harried homeowner in the suburbs struggling to pay your property taxes, I have some good news for you. You are finally going to hear Chris Christie’s property tax plan.

I also have some bad news: It stinks. Many suburban towns would lose half of their state aid and some could lose all of it.

As for the cities — you know, those places full of people who voted for Jon Corzine? — they’ll think their man won the election after all. The plan largely preserves urban aid at the expense of the suburbs.

If Christie had aired this plan last year during the Republican primary, his candidacy never would have made it past St. Paddy’s Day. His two opponents promised plans that would have finally given suburban towns a share of state school aid equal to the cities. As for Christie, he said he would address the problem, but he never said how.

Today we’ll find out how: He’s going to make it worse. I hadn’t thought that possible. Schools in suburban counties get so little aid that it just didn’t seem they could be hurt much. And Christie had promised he was going to cut the state budget by so much that he would have the money to give even more aid to the suburbs.

Then he got elected. And all of a sudden he decided not to cut the state budget but to cut school aid instead, by close to a billion bucks. That’s about 15 percent of state aid. Since cities get the most aid, they would face the biggest cuts if the reductions were done across the board.

But the education commissioner, Bret Schundler, comes from one of the cities that gets those outsized aid amounts, Jersey City.

So Schundler came up with an ingenious formula. Instead of cutting aid as a percentage of total aid received by a district, he would cut it as a percentage of the total amount spent, said state Sen. Mike Doherty, a Warren County Republican who was briefed on the budget yesterday.

Total spending is a much bigger pie, so now the state needs a smaller slice, a mere 5 percent. That doesn’t sound like much — until you realize that many suburban districts get only a bit more than 5 percent of their budgets in state aid.

A good example is the school district of the Chathams. That district produces excellent results with per-pupil spending that is below the state average. As for its state aid, it is a mere 6 percent of the budget, about $3 million a year.

A 15 percent cut in aid would be a mere $450,000. But under the Christie/Schundler plan, the district would lose $2.5 million, or almost its entire state aid amount. Who will make up the difference? Homeowners will.

The Christie crowd is also pushing a state constitutional amendment that would cap property taxes at 2.5 percent annually.

But that wouldn’t take effect until the following year. In the meantime, state law allows the district to raise taxes by an amount equal to any state aid reduction, said Chatham schools superintendent Jim O’Neill.

O’Neill also noted that residents of the two Chathams pay an astounding $54 million annually in income taxes, supposedly to provide property tax relief. Under the Christie plan, they’d get back less than a penny on the dollar.

“I think it’s unfortunate that people in communities like Chatham that pay such a disproportionate cost to operate their local schools have the double hit of their income tax funding all the other schools,” O’Neill said.

That’s a polite way of putting it. I imagine most Morris residents will be a lot less reserved when they discover that the Mendham resident who runs the state has cut their school aid to little or nothing. As for the residents of Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset, Sussex and the other counties who gave Christie his victory margin, I suspect they’ll be equally angry.

But the plan wasn’t put together to please them. It was put together to please the court. Doherty told me that at yesterday’s briefing of GOP legislative leaders, administration officials argued that this plan was more likely to win state Supreme Court approval than an across-the-board aid cut.

But Doherty pointed out that as long as we’re going to amend the Constitution, it would be a simple matter to include on the

November ballot a new school funding formula that would take the entire matter out of the court’s hands.

Some day a governor may do exactly that. But as for this governor, now that we know his property tax plan, we also know why he kept it a secret for so long.

Member
mookie
5 years 5 months ago

This will be Hoboken very soon – more debt.

Jersey City to borrow $8 million to pay property owners who won tax appeals

Jersey City will bond nearly $8 million to repay property owners who successfully appealed their tax assessments.

The City Council voted 8-1 Wednesday to issue $7,893,797 in bonds or notes. Ward E Councilman Steve Fulop cast the lone no vote.

Residents criticized the city for accruing more debt.

“We shouldn’t be borrowing from the future,” resident Phil Petruzzelli said.

Ward A Councilman Michael Sottolano said the city has no choice.

“These are people that appealed their assessments,” he said. “They won their cases. They already paid their taxes. Now we have to pay them back.”

Resident James Feeney asked why the city didn’t anticipate the appeals and budget for them.
Chief Financial Officer Donna Mauer said the city can’t budget for that.

Residents also asked what the borrowing would do to the city’s bond rating.

The city budgeted $43.35 million to repay outstanding bond debt and interest in the current fiscal year, according to the budget introduced in January.

Mauer said the city has a AAA bond rating, the highest rating, which means the city is not a credit risk. She attributed that rating to the city’s high tax collection rate.

Standard & Poor’s, a financial services firm, rates the city at AAA/negative, meaning there is little risk. But in December, after the city bonded $4.38 million so the Jersey City Parking Authority could purchase its building on Central Avenue, Moody’s Investors Services gave the city an A1 rating, which means it is a safe investment, but riskier in a tough economy.

Moody’s also gave the city an underlying rating of Baa2, which means it’s a medium-safe investment, and when the economy deteriorates problems may arise.

According to Moody’s, the city has a stable outlook on its $783.6 million in outstanding debt. Not all of that debt is the city’s; some of it, like the Parking Authority bond, is guaranteed by the city, meaning if the Parking Authority were to default on it’s bond repayment, the city would be held liable.

“Deficit spending funded by deficit borrowing is what got Jersey City into this mess,” resident John Seborowski said. “You’re responsible to enact solutions to get us out of this mess, not to keep spending money that we don’t have and expecting taxpayers to foot the bill.”