The New Jersey League of Municipalities recently compiled an extensive report on the state's property taxes which confirmed that New Jersey has the nation's highest real estate taxes. But there's more: Of the top ten counties in the nation with the highest real estate taxes, seven are from New Jersey. Of the top 20, 12 are from New Jersey. Of the top 25, 14 are from New Jersey. Real estate taxes in Camden County New Jersey rank in the top 25 nationally. Burlington County ranks in the top 30, nationally. Gloucester County ranks in the top 30, nationally. The average annual property tax nationally is $1,742. In New Jersey it's $5,773.
Right now, Governor Corzine and the legislators in Trenton are playing the same old shell game with spending and taxes: threatening cuts to vulnerable and "showcase" services to intimidate the public while continuing to pad their own pork barrel programs; proposing draconian cuts to selected municipalities to alarm local officials and local citizens; suggesting huge increases in other taxes (such as the gasoline tax) to avoid discussing or considering real cuts in state spending and suggesting new taxes (such as local income and/or property taxes) as a way around the issue. All of these are schemes are diversions, pure and simple.
New Jersey must drastically cut the state payroll (68,000+ employees) and cut it now. Three thousand employees cut from 68,430 is a cut of barely more than four percent from a bloated workforce that needs to be cut by at least 15 or 20 percent.
Here are some other ideas:
1) Bring in leaders of private industry to find, cut and eliminate waste and mismanagement.
2) Eliminate all overtime for state workers.
3) Cut patronage jobs and multiple lifetime pensions for government jobs.
4) Eliminate all dual office holding and dual job holding in government.
5) Mandate that the state budget for the new fiscal year be fixed at a point at least 10 percent below last year's budget.
6) Penalize small towns that refuse to merge, consolidate or share services.
7) Consider privatizing some state services (such as parks) where necessary.
10) Rescind recent pay increases given to judges and other government employees.
11) Subject state workers to independent "productivity auditing." If they're not being productive, fire them.
12) Eliminate unfunded state mandates to schools and municipalities.
14) Slash state regulations and eliminate regulatory boards, wherever possible.
15) Reject expensive new programs and mandates such as the proposed family leave plan.