BY MICHAEL HAYNE
Although it has been nearly three months since Superstorm Sandy ripped through New Jersey and caused billions of damage and losses, New Jersey simply cannot seem to escape its seemingly never-ending migraine.
It seems that more than a dozen towns in N.J. are facing a 10% loss of their tax base on the account of property damage, which sadly may lead to a hike in property taxes if the Congressional aid package fails to close all the gaps. Governor “Hurricane Superfleece” Christie already stated that property taxes could rise as a result of the Sandy clean-up, which certainly doesn’t sit well with already overly taxed residents in a state with some of the highest property taxes in the country.
Manasquan, for example, suffered some of the worst damage from Sandy. Now officials are saying the cost of rebuilding may drive up tax rates by at least 20 percent. Adding insult to injury, the tax base shrank as properties were virtually washed away. Apparently towns are allowed to exceed the 2 percent limit on property tax collections for emergencies such as Superstorm Sandy.
“We have never faced anything like this in recent memory,” said Michael Cerra, senior legislative analyst for the New Jersey League of Municipalities, an advocacy group for towns that has provided assistance to those facing losses since Sandy. “Everyone agrees that this is historic and unprecedented for the state.” (WSJ)
Interestingly enough, these tax pitfalls aren’t just relegated to the heaviest impacted towns at the jersey shore, as towns far from the Jersey Shore reported heavy losses as well.
For example, $250,000 in values in Bernards, $215,500 from Stone Harbor, $250,000 from Linwood, $100,000 from Mount Olive and $100,000 from Mount Arlington.
Even more scary, it seems that residents have to rely on do-nothing Washington for assistance, which has proven more difficult and problematic as lifting Seaside’s Star Jet coaster out of the Atlantic using only your pinkie.
“Everyone is watching what’s going on in D.C.,” Cerra said. Without aid, you are looking at potential severe cuts in services and a disparate impact in tax increases.” (WSJ)
It took several angry calls from Christie and fellow area Republicans to finally compel Congress to act, and this was after many Republicans from unaffected states made sure to slip in tons of pork as well as hypocritically vote against the package even though they gladly voted for disaster aid for their own states. .
Brace yourself, New Jersey: You could start seeing yourself really being pulled over for ‘nothing’ and issued a summons by tax revenue starved towns.