Governor Christie, State Legislature, Mayor Healy and Jersey City Council
United States of America

In the waning days of your predecessors' administration, the City Council of Jersey City hastily proposed a budget that included a substantial tax increase (http://www.nj.com/news/jjournal/jerseycity/index.ssf?/base/news-9/1263453994245760.xml&coll=3).

Additionally, the Council on January 27, 2010 passed a resolution on a 5 - 3 vote to petition the State of New Jersey to allow the city to raise property taxes above the legal maximum of 4%; N.J.S.A. 40A:4-45.15a).

The city has not followed the example of other states and municipalities and adjusted its expenses to the revenues it can raise. In fact, the city has not made a concerted effort to reduce its overall expenses, with the exception of cosmetic cuts such as furloughs, closing 4 fire stations and reassigning personnel, and requesting department to reduce costs.

We, the residents and property owners of Jersey City, do not believe the elected government of our city should be permitted to increase real estate taxes beyond the state mandated maximum of 4 percent.

Such a tax increase--which for many would range between 18 - 25 percent (http://www.jerseycityindependent.com/2010/02/02/how-to-cut-taking-a-look-at-the-city-budget/).

First, the proposed tax increase will very severely impact residents who are retired, living on fixed incomes, and the unemployed. For those who are on Social Security, there were no COLA increases this year. During this recession, Hudson County's unemployment rate of 12 percent is higher than that of nation or the state (http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2009/11/post_42.html). Those who are unemployed or are on fixed income already have had to make painful choices, prioritizing life's necessities to adjust their expenses to their lower income. For these already suffering groups, the effect of a significant tax increase will cause them to further marginalize.

Second, if property taxes increase, real estate values will decline as a result. Already, 1 in every 381 residential units received foreclosure notices in Jersey City (http://www.realtytrac.com/trendcenter/default.aspx?address=Jersey%20City,%20NJ%20&parsed=1&ct=Jersey%20City&cn=Hudson%20county&stc=NJ). The proposed tax increase would cost an additional 800 dollars in taxes for each 100,000 dollars in property tax assessment. The net effect on real estate values will be significant. With Zillow's real estate home value index at 285,000 dollars for Jersey City as of November 30, 2009, the tax increase would further reduce property values by at least 5 percent leading many homeowners to having negative equity in their homes causing them to either walk away from their mortgages or to enter the foreclosure process.

Third, as the monthly expenses increase substantially as a result of these unprecedented tax increases, many taxpayers will have less money available to spend in the community. This will further exacerbate local business’s struggles during the recession as their expenses are increasing and sales are decreasing, particularly in those areas that are already marginalized.

We, the undersigned taxpayers and property owners of Jersey City, petition our newly elected Governor Christie to deny the request of Jersey City to raise property taxes above the 4% ceiling.

GoPetition respects your privacy.

The Stop the Jersey City Tax Increase petition to Governor Christie, State Legislature, Mayor Healy and Jersey City Council was written by jctax and is in the category Politics at GoPetition.