NJAA APPLAUDS GOVERNOR CHRISTIE’S SUPPORT OF BILL TO LIMIT MUNICIPAL ‘USER FEES’ TO TWO PERCENT
Monroe, NJ, February 27, 2013—The New Jersey Apartment Association (NJAA), the only statewide trade association representing professional multi-family rental housing owners, managers, builders, and developers, applauds Governor Chris Christie’s call for swift approval of Senate President Sweeney’s Municipal User Fee Bill in his FY 2014 Budget message on Tues., Feb. 26, 2013.
“The New Jersey Apartment Association appreciates the Governor’s call for action, and we hope the General Assembly will act quickly to enact this bi-partisan reform initiative,” said Brent Kohere, President of the NJAA. “New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the nation and have long been a burden on both apartment owners and renters throughout the state,”
“Residents at multi-family properties end up paying for both property taxes and user fees in their rents, and real estate taxes alone are one of the highest operational expenses at multifamily communities.”
A recent study by the Edward J. Bloustein School of Public Policy at Rutgers University found that the 500,000 multifamily apartments in New Jersey contribute $1 billion annually to municipal coffers, and the New Jersey Treasury Department estimates that on average eighteen percent (18%) of residential rents goes toward municipal property taxes.
“Passing the Sweeney-Kean bill is the right thing to do. A cap is a cap is a cap, and a 2% cap on property tax increases should mean property taxes will not go up without voter approval. Closing the user fee loop-hole will put an end to the practice of municipal governments going around voters and continuing to spend beyond their means.”
S-1914, sponsored by President Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-Union) passed in the Senate 30-1 with broad bi-partisan support in June 2012 but has since stalled in the General Assembly. The bill seeks to close a loop-hole in the municipal property tax cap law and prevent local officials from moving spending items traditionally covered by the property tax levy, like trash collection, off the property tax bill and convert to a ‘user fee’ to get around the state’s two percent property tax cap.
Professional multi-family rental housing providers have long appreciated protections enacted by the Legislature to ensure that all property types are treated equitably under tax and spending laws. Too often apartment communities have been long-standing targets by municipalities looking for additional nontax revenue. It is time for this loophole to be closed and for the Legislature and Governor to continue to work together to confront the high-cost of local government.
Founded in 1986, the New Jersey Apartment Association (NJAA) is a statewide organization of apartment owners, managers, builders, developers and those involved in allied industries. The Association is designed to advance and protect the welfare of the apartment industry in New Jersey. NJAA represents managers and owners of more than 180,000 rental units throughout the state as rental housing is home to over one-third of all New Jersey families. NJAA also serves its membership’s interest on a national level through its affiliation with the National Apartment Association (NAA). For more information about apartment home living in New Jersey along with NJAA events and activities visit www.njaa.com.