Yesterday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the historic property tax cap into law. This "hard cap" limits local property tax increases to two percent per year unless voters approve otherwise.
Here, in the Governor's own words is what the new law means:
Let me make you all understand what this is all about, and there are plenty of naysayers about every idea that you're ever going to come up with but this is the beginning of real property tax relief for New Jerseyans.
We had a 4% cap with 14 different exceptions and with a local finance board filled with bureaucrats down in Trenton who decided they can give a waiver for any reason or no reason at all to increase property taxes. That was a system that could not give us the real relief that we needed.
They all know and I saw some signs here today that I was in favor of a 2.5% constitutional cap and I still am in favor of a constitutional cap, but governing is about leading and it's about compromising as long as you don't compromise the core principles that underlie your proposals.
And this 2.0% cap represents compromise between myself and Senator Sweeney and members of the State Assembly for achieving something that a lot of people didn't think we could. Going from 14 exceptions to just 4 exceptions to that cap, and taking the local finance board and the Trenton bureaucrats out of deciding the level of your property taxes and putting it in your hands.
And so now if you're property taxes, your local governing body wants to raise them above 2%, they've got to come and get permission from the people who pay the bills. Put it on the ballot and get a majority vote from your citizens - if you get that vote, then they get the additional property tax revenue. If they don't, they don't.
And there's not going to be anybody in Trenton that can override that.
We have waited for 30 years for a solution to the property tax problem in New Jersey and we've waited for the politicians in this state to fix it for 30 years and they haven't.
My view is that it's time to put it in the hands of the people of this State, and that's what this piece of legislation does.
And so you now, all of you who pay the bills have become partners with us in trying to make sure that we enforce what needs to be enforced in this cap which is to make smart decisions with your own money.