Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Have an idea for lowering property taxes?

From the Times Trenton:

Lawmakers turn to residents for ideas to lower property taxes

Lawmakers struggling to lower New Jersey's property taxes will turn their attention tonight to residents who may have new ideas on how to lighten the burden.

Gov. Jon Corzine launched the summer's special session on property tax reform July 28 as legislators seek ways to relieve the weight on taxpayers.

Hamilton Republicans Sen. Peter Inverso and Assemblyman Bill Baroni believe the best suggestions will come from those who feel the strain the hardest.

So the two officials will host a town meeting from 7 to 9 tonight at the Hamilton Township Public Library, 1 Municipal Drive, to get ideas from residents.

"This issue is too important to leave just to the politicians," Baroni said. "The answer to this problem is not in the State House alone. I think Hamilton residents could have great waste-cutting ideas."

Property taxes in New Jersey are the highest in the nation -- col lecting $2,099 per capita in 2004. Across the Delaware River in Pennsylvania, $1,010 per capita was col lected and in Delaware, $546 was collected, said Gerald Prante, an economist at the Tax Foundation, a nonprofit policy research group based in Washington, D.C.
...
"The incentive to move to neighboring states is high right now," Baroni said. "We have to come up with a way to fund education and government without forcing people out of their homes or making them want to leave."

Any ideas for lowering property taxes? Let's hear them. All suggestions made on this thread will be emailed to Inverso and Baroni.

86 Comments:

Blogger grim said...

From the Daily Record:

Tax idea spooks N.J. business

Legislators have convened only one meeting on cutting the state's highest-in-the-nation property taxes, but New Jersey businesses are worried that they'll be hurt by potential tax changes.

Showing how difficult it is for lawmakers to even discuss changing New Jersey's property tax system, businesses are vocally fretting about plans by a special committee to consider constitutional language that mandates that businesses and homes be taxed at the same rate.

"For the first issue on the agenda to be possibly changing the fairness clause, which is what we call it, is very disheartening," said Arthur Maurice, a first vice president with the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, which represents 23,000 businesses.
...
On Friday, the committee formed to consider constitutional tax issues discussed a state constitutional provision that requires all properties within the same tax district be assessed for taxes under identical standards and be charged the same property tax rates.

David Rosen, a legislative budget official, suggested to the committee that it could consider, for instance, charging commercial properties full property taxes while charging homes just 60 percent of what they currently pay.
...
Last year, a nonpartisan tax group ranked New Jersey's business climate as second-worst in the nation.

"The environment for business in New Jersey is at an all-time low," said Laurie Ehlbeck, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business. "Many of our members are considering closing their doors in this state and tell me that this could be the straw that breaks the camel's back."

8/09/2006 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger grim said...

As if our budget issues weren't bad enough, now comes competition on our northern border. New Jersey is considering raising taxes on businesses, all while it's neighbor is considering dropping them. Making the move a few miles north seems like a small price to pay for all the convenience of New Jersey at a much lower cost.

From the Journal News:

Helping Rockland compete

At long last, Rockland has won state approval for an Empire Zone, a designation that should help the county compete with our neighbors when it comes to attracting the kind of employers we need and want.
...
Empire zones make it possible for business to take advantage of numerous tax credits and tax abatement programs.

Businesses can get payroll tax credits when hiring new staff, earn investment tax credits and qualify for exemption from sales tax on purchases of property or services. Some of the taxes they do pay are also returned in the form of credits against their state business taxes.
...
The result is that businesses — or you can call them employers — can operate almost tax-free for 10 years and get longer benefits on a declining basis if they grow their workforce.
...
For Rockland, those incentives can make a difference in a company locating north of the state line rather than settling in New Jersey or in staying here rather than leaving the state.

Freedman says there's never a single reason a business moves or decides where to locate in the first place, but that not being able to provide a benefit New Jersey can offer could be one factor in those decisions.

So, she says, "Having an Empire Zone increases our competitiveness with northern New Jersey." Vanderhoef agrees and says that's important to Rockland because, "That's the place we like to pick from to pull companies across the border."

8/09/2006 06:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From CBS Marketwatch;

Toll Brothers reduced Wednesday its estimate of the number of homes to be delivered in the fourth quarter while saying it would take write-downs for the value of land options on "deals that no longer work due to today's weaker market conditions and slower sales paces."
Robert Toll, chairman and chief executive, cited an oversupply of houses for sale and a fall-off in buyer confidence as the Horsham, Pa.-based builder of luxury homes disclosed revenue figures for the third quarter ended July 31.
The current housing slowdown "is the first downturn in the 40 years since we entered the business that was not precipitated by high interest rates, a weak economy, job losses or other macroeconomic factors," the executive said in a statement.

At least he did not put the spin that this is just a normal balancing. He is saying; Holy s*it, we have never seen this. He is right about that. Compliments of BTO, "You've ain't seen nothing yet".

"other macroeconomic factors"??????
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, I guess it is a duck. This duck has had its last quack!!!!!!!

BC Bob

8/09/2006 07:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GLUTS AND GLUTS OF FOOL SALE SIGNS ALL OVER.

"FOOL" SALE SIGNS.

ANYONE BUYING AT THESE PRICES IS A 'FOOL"

BOOOOOOOOOYAAAAAAAA

Bob

8/09/2006 07:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Big Bob T realizes 'NOW" that speculators drove up demand and now there is an abundance of inventory for years to come.

OOOOHHH this admission AFTER he sold $100's of million of dollars of stock!
Same with the Ceo of countrywide!

"HArd landing" after selling $100's of million in stock options.

BABABABA

BUST!

Boooooooooyaaaaaaa

Bob

8/09/2006 07:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the daily motivated seller list.

See how alot have been remodeled or completely "redone".
http://newjersey.craigslist.org
/cgi-bin/search?areaID=170&subAreaID=0
&query=motivated&cat
Abbreviation=rfs&minAsk=
min&maxAsk=max

Desperate Grubbing Flippers "Speculators" getting worried!

Go for the throat.

Babababa

BUST!

Bob

8/09/2006 07:35:00 AM  
Blogger Richie said...

Privatize/sell the DMV. We don't need the state running that show. They do a horrible job at it anyway, everytime I go there the computers are down.


-Richie

8/09/2006 07:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how About we cut the welfare give away programs in NJ.

and it will not be long before
we begin to see more and more
Iraqi's here in nj.

It seems because of the civil war
going on in Iraqi, they are leaving.

Seems they are heading for Mexico
and then on to the go old USA and
on to welfare friendly NJ.

Thats right from today's WSJ.

Cut taxes, if anything these Morons
in Trenton will want more from
the taxpayer for all the give away
programs going on.

8/09/2006 07:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sell paterson,camden,newark,trenton
and a few more to foreign interests.

as well as the turnpike and parkway
to Germany.

8/09/2006 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger grim said...

Please keep this particular thread on-topic (and serious).

grim

8/09/2006 08:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Publish official listings of individuals' public service pensions
Impose co-payments for public employees' health and fringe benefits
Outlaw double-dipping for retirees
Base pensions on last five years' salary (sans overtime)
Elected civilian review board for public sector compensation and benefits
No accrual of unused vacation time--use it or lose it.

In short, hold public employees to the same compensation standards as private sector workers.

8/09/2006 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger quints said...

I think you need to define essential services and stop the government from being involved in non-essential services that belong in the private sector. A referendum on the various services they cover could end up redefining their role to a smaller one. Maybe they should not be offering some services. Also, rules for competitive bidding need to be in place. Finally, I think the labor unions in the state should not have benefit packages that are out of line with private employers. In fairness, I think it would be a good idea to tie state benefits to the median benefits of other NJ workers.

8/09/2006 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Richie said...

No 'sweetheart' deals or 'no-bid' contracts. All bids for any municipality must be posted publically to allow more companies to bid on them, opening the door for fairness and competition.

There's plenty of towns that are in-bed with certain firms. There's a reason why, someone is getting a kick back.

-Richie

8/09/2006 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger quints said...

I have another very good idea that management in private companies often use for problems like this. Increased visibility. Come up with a scorecard that shows the increase in cost of various services year over year and publish it to the voters. Include the salary and benefits of any elected official. If that is made easily available in tabular form then if it is important to the voters, they can see what their legislature is doing and vote accordingly. Note - it is possible that the voters will continue to vote for big spenders as they have consistently in NJ for decades.
That's democracy.

8/09/2006 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger X-Underwriter said...

Until you get rid of redundancy of services that every town has for every service, you will have high taxes. Smaller towns need to consolidate their police, fire, and so on.
In doing so, elected officials would agree to have their jobs eliminated, which will never never happen.

8/09/2006 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger BergenBuyer said...

I think shared services is a move in the right direction. Does every small town really need it's own police chief, director of DPW, building code director, director of sitting on my ass in the boro hall? I think the same about school superintendents, but that's a bigger battle that I don't think can be won, so it's better to look elsewhere.

Half of the people that work for towns, counties and the state are not needed. I think if you cut the workforce down 50% and told the remaining people they had to start working 8 hrs a day and not the 4 hrs they're used to plus 4 hrs of solitaire otherwise they'd be out on their ass you'd see the fat that was trimmed was truly fat and not needed.

The benefits need to be cut as well. Public benefits need to be put more in line with the private sector.

NJ needs to cut payroll and cut benefits of public employees. Less employees today means less pension obligations tomorrow.

I'm sorry for all of the public employees that may be on this board (I have relatives that would be affected as well), but the gravy train needs to be cut-off. This state is going down the shtter and needs a drastic and permanent change.

Corzine needs to take a look at other states and see what's worked for them and apply best practices to NJ.

These changes won't reduce your property tax by 25% overnight, it will take time, but it is needed.

8/09/2006 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger grim said...

Eliminate pensions and benefits for all legislators.

8/09/2006 08:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The counties and local townships are spending way too much money. Perhaps cutting Police and educational expenses is a start. You can do that by combining two or more township resources. Perhaps cutting their salaries too. Why should public servants be making more than the average folks?

8/09/2006 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger BergenBuyer said...

take a look at this link, sums up NJ's gov't over the years and gives an explanation of how we got to where we are today:

http://www.city-journal.org/html/16_2_new_jersey.html

8/09/2006 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger skep-tic said...

I think it's pretty clear what's going to happen. It will happen all across the country in the coming decade or so. Very few of these local gov'ts can afford their pension obligations. But they also don't have the guts/ability to make the necessary changes to make the system solvent long term. So the simplest, most direct solution is for them to just default on their pension obligations.

8/09/2006 08:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Besides some of the comments listed, I feel you have to regionalize services. Bergen County has approx 70 different municipalities in an area that is approx 19 miles by 14 miles, I could be off on the exact size. Do we really need 70 different, distinct towns each with their own municipal employees/teachers. Just a guess, but Bergen County probably has more firefighters/equipment than NYC!!!!!!!! No, I don't have data to back this up, just a guess. Why can't these 70 municipalities be be zoned into a group od districts. I know the backlash from parents, "we don't want our kids in a school with kids from that town" Well if you don't like the idea stop complaining about your taxes. Also, please stop with these pensions. They will have to follow the path of corporate America, a type of a 401k for these individuals. The taxpayers can not handle the absurdity of the situation any longer. Consequences of doing nothing??? What will be school system be like in the future is things remain status quo??? Bergen County will not be able to attract young teachers, they will be following the mass migration that's taking place right in front of the bureaucrats eyes. They will be teaching elsewhere.

BC Bob

8/09/2006 08:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moratorium on all new road building. Focus on maintenance only.

Moratorium on new traffic lights. Put in speedhumps in advance of stops, and other traffic calming devices that are permanent, low or no maintenance.

all towns with less than 5,000 residents will lay off all staff, services to be assumed at the county level. some staff may be rehired with the county to serve small towns.

all street lights to be turned off at 2am, unless there is a stoplight within 1/8 of a mile. Since all business are closed by 1am, lighting up the nightsky at 4am for no one is just plain silly. Obviously, this wouldnt apply in congested areas, because of the streetlight rule.

Tie municipal salaries to state salaries: no mayor may earn more than a senator.

One. State. Job. At. A. Time, just like the rest of the nation.

8/09/2006 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger Metroplexual said...

An article in the Star Ledger today as a Rutgers professor stating the reduncy of service elimination will get rid of very little in property taxes. He states the problem is teachers salaries. When I grew up in East Brunswick the norm was 30 kids per class. Now you have less than 20 with two teachers in many cases.

8/09/2006 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger skep-tic said...

teachers:

it's easy to see where the problem is if you compare public and private schools.

private schools tend to have smaller classes, greater variety of classes, more extra-curriculars, etc, etc. what they DON'T have are pensions and unlimited healthcare for life.

it is possible to have excellent schools with small classes and good resources on a reasonable budget, but not if you insist on funding lavish retirements for people starting in their early 50s.

8/09/2006 09:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Y'all have great suggestions,
unfortunately the people in power will not accept these common sense ideas. It's all about the money and the greedy bastar*s that are living the good life want it to continue.
Vote everyone out of office at election time.
The only reason to remain in NJ is if you're depending on a job to survive. If you're retired or unemployed do your voting with your feet and move.

8/09/2006 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger X-Underwriter said...

Metroplexual said...
When I grew up in East Brunswick the norm was 30 kids per class. Now you have less than 20 with two teachers in many cases.

My wife is a teacher in South Brunswick with 27 students. Believe me, she doesn't make more than the average worker. The school, however, has one Principal and three vice principals making over $100,000. Eliminate two of them and you could pay for four more teachers

8/09/2006 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger lisoosh said...

End home rule.
End double dipping.
End extortionate pensions.
End no-bid contracts.

8/09/2006 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger grim said...

The state will default on it's debt obligations before it defaults on it's pension obligations. What legislator is going to want to pay back debt at the expense of their pension?

From the Daily Record:

Public worker benefits, pensions to face scrutiny

Among other things, the task force recommended:

--Restricting end-of-career salary hikes that help boost pensions.

--Requiring employees to designate a single job to base a pension upon.

--Basing a pension on the average of five highest salaries as opposed to the three highest salaries.

--Barring pensions for professional service contractors and vendors.

--Requiring 401(k)-type retirement plans for elected officials and political appointees.

--Increasing the public employee retirement age from 55 to 60.

--Requring all current and retired employees to contribute to health care.

The proposed reforms have sparked opposition from public employee unions.

8/09/2006 09:54:00 AM  
Anonymous UnRealtor said...

This would help dramatically: abolish unions.

Ever see road crews, NJ transit track crews, or even the construction guys rebuilding the Newark Broad Street train station?

Universally: 2 guys working, 6 guys standing and watching.

We're outsourcing top jobs to other countries, while the jobs that are left are taxed into oblivion, subsidizing union workers to work less harder than those in the free market.

How can people honestly claim outsourcing is a labor effeciency while ignoring the elephant in the room, and model of worker inneffeciency: unions.

8/09/2006 09:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about we shut down the govt again? They were closed for days, and I didnt notice a dam thing different. Gotta be some pretty nice savings getting rid of the govt.....

8/09/2006 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Metroplexual said...

x-underwriter,

I am just echoing what the guy said. BTW teacher work a 180 day year vs most people with 230 or so days. Factor that into the salary as well and teachers are handsomely compensated, especially as they accrue years and rise through steps.

"Reock first took a hard look at the issue when talk about the costs of home rule boiled up in the 1990s. He looked at the data on school spending, which absorbs the bulk of property tax revenue.

What he found is that most of the money goes to teacher salaries and benefits, which would not be affected by mergers.

When he examined towns that had agreed to share a high school -- just the sort of move that was supposed to save money -- he found their per-pupil spending actually increased for some reason.

Larger districts did tend to save some money on administration. But even if the state went on a merger binge and reduced the number of districts by half, the costs savings would be modest.

Reock puts the number at $365million. Which sounds like a lot until you realize it amounts to less than 2 percent of the state's property tax bill.

The entire savings, in other words, could be gobbled up three times by the average annual increase in property taxes."



http://www.nj.com/printer/printer.ssf?/base/columns-0/1155102478127080.xml

8/09/2006 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger skep-tic said...

anon @ 10:36,

I agree and that is why I think many of these municipalities will ultimately default on their obligations.

Municipal workers strike if they are asked to contribute even a small amount toward their healthcare, or if there is talk of changing retirement packages for new hires.

Economically sensible contracts are impossible as long as judgment day can be delayed. Union leaders are ousted if they lean toward reducing benefits.

Take a look at the flight attendents in the Northwest bankruptcy. They would rather run the airline into the ground and all lose their jobs rather than take a cut in pay.

Municipalities' dealings with unions are even worse because they are not subject to business realities. However, even municipalties cannot create money out of thin air and at a certain point the system will be exhausted. Unfortunately, I think we will have to reach this point before municipal employees will see a meaningful reduction in benefits.

8/09/2006 10:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never understood why commercial properties get taxed for schools. they never utilize the school system.

and now they want these commercial properties to pay the same rates as homes?

Any flourishing state also has a very healthy business sector. Our tax troubles are linked to NJ having the 2nd worst business climate in the nation. Kill businesses and you kill the state.

8/09/2006 10:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, metro, they covered that on NJN this morning also..the net savings is not "worth" the political risk in most small communities.

Too bad. At this point, ANY savings should be included. I don't care if it is $10,000. Consolidate.

1. Education of State Employees: "Winning the minds of a huge percentage of New Jersey residents."

In June, I mentioned that every state employee must understand the net present value of their total package. That is not happening. Not one state employee I've spoken with knows what this means. This is costing the state money on a daily basis.

For four months, a complete campaign of education must be done. Hire ADP, Mercer, Ceridian, Watson Wyatt, Hewitt or ANY INDEPENDENT company with a Total/Personal Compensation Statement service. If Gov. Corzine needs e-mail addresses, let me know. A Direct e-mail to their corporate website contact us page, with a two-day response bid request is all that is needed. Take the first lowest bid over e-mail. These companies will bid low and bid fast, and do it efficiently. The company prints and mails the statements directly to each state employee's home. NO ELECTED OFFICIAL SHOULD BE INVOLVED OR PERMITTED TO TAMPER WITH THIS EDUCATION EVENT.

Each employee receives a total compensation sheet. The numbers are there in a chart. One half shows a break-down of their base, overtime, vacation, pension, health benefits, flex, etc., and the other column shows a similarly-situated employee in the private sector. These companies already know wages for just about every employee in the country, and can easily identify the matching private job indicator.

All printouts should be accessible on-line to any New Jersey taxpayer.

Result of Education Event:

NO PUBLIC EMPLOYEE SHOULD EARN MORE THAN 1.45 times a private similar employee, including base, OT, and NPV of all benefits. All new state employees take it or leave it. Two tiers. Tier One=employees as of 09/01/2006 under old contract. Tier Two=employees under reality wages.

2. Trial/Temporary suspension of Home Rule: "Transition from a Social Welfare pay scheme to a pay for services program."

Acceptable service levels [police, fire, emergency, hospital] by region must be voted on by the legislature. Then matching and consolidation. New Jersey is too small for the services currently set up. Three plans for consolidation into regions, then put it to the voters.

3. Long Term Business Investment Renewal

a. Reassuring Business:
"New Jersey to offer automatic matching of any Pennsylvania or New York business credits."

b. Tax zones (no explanation needed)

c. Paid State Univ. Tuition with >3.0 G.P.A. and five-year in-state service commitment.

d. State Crime zone designations, including higher penalties, jail terms, separate judges and prosecutors.

Whew..I'll type some more later. Need to work.
Pat

8/09/2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger X-Underwriter said...

Metro,
It's funny that we were both wishing the job were year round because she has to go for 2.5 months with no pay. The time off is, unfortunately, not voluntary.
Living by herself in NJ would be just barely making it on her salary alone

In any event, I hear the state workers union is so strong that nobody's going to mess with them anyhow

8/09/2006 10:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TOL stock down 6%, HOV down 5% today - good thing it's a nice, soft landing. Would hate to see a hard landing.

8/09/2006 10:18:00 AM  
Anonymous UnRealtor said...

"Our tax troubles are linked to NJ having the 2nd worst business climate in the nation. Kill businesses and you kill the state."


Add in that NJ doesn't have a single decent city.

No Atlanta, no Dallas, no Raleigh.

Just Newark, Camden, Patterson, and other crime-ridden drains on NJ homeowners, who subsidize these cash sinkholes.

NJ should start by bulldozing Camden (OK, give massive tax incentives to draw in businesses) and create a sister city with Philadelphia that can compete with New York. This will bring in tax revenue to the state.

8/09/2006 10:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DWEK properties sold at auction competes with TOL maybe...lol

Asbury Park Press 08/9/06

8/09/2006 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger njresident286 said...

unrealtor -

while i doubt bulldozing camden is never going to happen, trying to make it a sister city with Philly is a great idea. South NJ house prices are much more reasonable, and if there were jobs to support it I think many people would move down there.

8/09/2006 11:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 11:11

Businesses are being killed by a thousands cuts. We are already into the death throes of the state's economy.

NJ State = Ford/GM

What was once great has become bloated and slow to react to global and local markets.

We need significant layoffs, consolidation, and leaner retirement benefits for gov't employees.

8/09/2006 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger X-Underwriter said...

njresident286 said...
South NJ house prices are much more reasonable, and if there were jobs to support it I think many people would move down there.

Here's the problem...due to very high taxes and costs of doing business in center city philly, (sound familiar?) many of the companies that had offices there have left for the suburbs to the west and north of the city. If there were still a ton of jobs in center city, then you could consider having Camden as a bedroom community. Many jobs left though, so I don't think there's the housing demand in Camden to support that level of gentrification.
Camden really needs to be raised. There's so much deferred maintenace on 90% of the houses there that all you can do is bulldoze

8/09/2006 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger njresident286 said...

Isn't the tweeter center in camden, which is where philly teams is play i think?

8/09/2006 12:00:00 PM  
Anonymous UnRealtor said...

"If there were still a ton of jobs in center city, then you could consider having Camden as a bedroom community."


I was talking more about having Camden as it's own self-supporting city (imagine 20 years of tax incentives to draw in businesses, even from New York). It could compete directly with Philly (and NY City), rather than be a bedroom community of Philly.

Optimistic, probably, but not impossible.

NJ needs to start somewhere, unless it wants to forever be "the state next to New York."

8/09/2006 12:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Institute open bids for services, ie. no more No Bid Contracts

Getting rid of Unions is not a good idea, but they do have too much power from unions giving politicians political kickbacks.

All campaign contributions for NJ politicians must be disclosed. An even better model would be state funded elections to get the crooks out of office. All salaries of elected officials must be published, and salary increases voted on by the public, not by members of the senate (I mean, would you vote to not give yourself a pay-raise, come on!)

TOO MUCH ADMINSTRATION. Why a high school needs a principal and 2 vice principals is beyond me. Cutting teachers salaries is not the way to go. If anything, they don't make enough. People are always complaining about the quality of teachers, but you can't attract good people if you're not willing to pay them.

Somebody asked why businesses need to pay school taxes. Well, why do people who don't have any kids, and aren't planning to have any kids, like my wife and I, have to pay school taxes. We will not use the school system, so why do we have to pay for it? If you exempt buisnesses from paying school taxes because they don't use the school system, then by that same logic families without children must also be exempt.

Reform of the pension system. Actually abolish the state pension program. Those who now receive a pension continue to receive one. Those who are still working for the state no longer contribute to the pension plan, and have any funds they have acrued converted to a 403(b) account, which is the same thing as a 401(k), except it is specifically for municpal workers. No early retirement for acrued vacation time. Vacation time is use it or lose it. Health benefits must be brought in line with those of private companies.

Consolidate municipalities, and get rid of home rule. Why Bloomfield, Belleville, and Nutley could not combine services is beyond me. Purchasing of new equipment should be based on a need basis, and aproved by a civilian oversight board. The Bergen County Fire Department having more equipment than the NYFD is completely assanine.

Get rid of the law requiring all Bergen County retail locations to close on sunday. The biggest mall in New Jersey is closed on Sunday causing Bergen County to miss out on millions of dollars of tax revenue every week. There is absolutely no logic in this.

Lastly look at Pennsylvania. They were practially insolvent 4 years ago, and are now doing much better financially. Look at other states as well, and use existing programs that work as a model.

JWR

8/09/2006 12:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

O.K...

Who get's SAS's "Horse's Head in Bed" award today?

[I notice nobody here is suggesting using a huge parcel of NJ land for a new big garbage dump for NYC or nuclear waste. That would really lower taxes.]

Anon 9:25
Bergenbuyer @ 9:39
Anon 9:57
Unrealtor at 11:44
Other______


Pat

8/09/2006 12:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about Norwood,Closter,Demarest,
Harrington Park,

They have about 70 Police officers
4 chiefs, 3 Dispatchs,and all the
overhead associated with 4 Police
dept. .. Its Crazy.

8/09/2006 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at this..one day of financial trouble, and :

"Gov. Frank Murkowski has instituted a hiring freeze because of the millions of dollars Alaska is losing due to the shutdown of BP’s Prudhoe Bay oil field, The Associated Press reports." -CNN

How about it, Gov. Corzine?

Pat

8/09/2006 12:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about the salaries of the
Bergen County Police,(which dupicates many local functions)

Out of site.

How about the overhead in Hackensack, (court house)

Out of site.

NJ is totally out of control.

Camden,Trenton,Paterson, these town should be bulldozed .

The cash drain is unbelievable.

NJ the original Welfare State.

worse.than worst

8/09/2006 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger X-Underwriter said...

People who aren't from NJ and visit always say the same thing..."holy crap there's a lot of cops here". "I passed by 3 cars getting pulled over in less than half an hour". NJ has some of the lowest crime rates in the nation but there's a cop on very corner to write you a ticket as soon as you step off the curb

8/09/2006 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger chicagofinance said...

"Get rid of the law requiring all Bergen County retail locations to close on sunday. The biggest mall in New Jersey is closed on Sunday causing Bergen County to miss out on millions of dollars of tax revenue every week. There is absolutely no logic in this."

It is a godsend.

8/09/2006 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger delford said...

Move to Rockland. just look at the difference when you cross the line from Bergen into Pearl River.

8/09/2006 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger chicagofinance said...

Ivy Zelman of CSFB tossing it in Bob Toll's face on the conference call right now.

2:15PM

go IVY!

8/09/2006 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger chicagofinance said...

Toll cancellation rate 18%

8/09/2006 01:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ivy zelman is a real estate lightweight

8/09/2006 01:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Consolodation of town services - small towns in Bergen County with a one mile radius each have their own police, ambulance, health department, building dept, tax, etc. Sharing services can help a lot.

8/09/2006 01:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Pat's Steak said...

After reading that article:

http://www.city-journal.org/html/16_2_new_jersey.html

I'm really not all that surprised that NJ is in a basket going to hell. Having grown up in PA, lived in California and now NJ I can see the differences between heavily taxed states (CA,NJ) versus moderately taxed (PA). Why is it the states with the higher taxes have the sh*ttiest services?

Having dealt with three different DMV's it's funny that the two states (CA, NJ) that taxes the sh*t out of its citizens have the worst DMV's. I had to make an appointment in California so I could stand in the smaller line and wait an hour instead of two hours.

NJ is no better. However, PA does it right. In PA you can by-pass the DMV all together and go to a PRIVATE company (notary) and for a fee above the state fees get all your paper work done (or new tags or transfer title) on a Saturday very quickly. Or perform some paperwork on line. Not to mention the DMV offices in PA are open on Saturdays! Gov't employees working on a Saturday!

I think the idea of privatizing a lot of the mindless paperwork jobs can and should be done.

Huh.

8/09/2006 02:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chicagofinance....

How is the amount of tax revenue Bergen is losing every week because all the stores are closed a godsend? To me, it makes no sense at all other than the puritanical value to not have anything open on the sabath.

8/09/2006 02:15:00 PM  
Anonymous dreamtheaterr said...

Posted in money.cnn.com today:

Builder: Oversupply causing home slump

Toll Brothers slashes outlook on new homes as orders plunge and revenue misses forecasts.
August 9 2006: 9:33 AM EDT
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Homebuilder Toll Brothers said the current slump in residential construction is unlike any it has seen in 40 years as it became the latest to warn of a glut in new homes for sale and a slowdown in the closely watched real estate market.

The builder of luxury homes also reported weaker-than-expected preliminary results for the just completed quarter and cut its outlook for the homes it will sell in the current period. Toll Brothers (Charts) shares fell 4 percent in pre-market trading.

In a statement, company chairman Robert Toll warned there is a glut of supply of homes for sale in the market, as the building boom of recent years seems to be turning into a bust.

The slowdown "is the first downturn in the forty years since we entered the business that was not precipitated by high interest rates, a weak economy, job losses or other macroeconomic factors," Toll said in his statement.

"Instead, it seems to be the result of an oversupply of inventory and a decline in confidence," he added. "Speculative buyers who spurred demand in 2004 and 2005 are now sellers; builders that built speculative homes must now move their specs; and nervous buyers are canceling contracts for homes already under construction."

The company reported homebuilding revenues were approximately $1.53 billion in the quarter ending July 31, compared to the record of $1.54 billion a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by earnings tracker First Call had been forecasting a 7 percent increase in overall revenue at the company.

The Pennsylvania-based builder said it expects to deliver 2,500 to 2,800 homes in the current quarter, a cut of at least 14 percent from its previous guidance of 2,900 to 3,300. And the company announced signed contracts in the just completed quarter plunged 45 percent to $1.05 billion from a record of $1.92 billion a year earlier.

The company said it is not under as much pressure as many builders to cut prices because it builds relatively few homes on spec. But Toll said that much of the supply of finished and near-finished product is being marketed using advertised price reductions and increased sales incentives, which in turn is leading many potential buyers to delay their purchase decisions as they wonder about the direction of home prices.

But Toll said the company believes that as there is a cutback in supply by builders, the housing market should be able get back on the growth track of recent years.

"With many potential buyers on the sidelines right now, we believe there is growing pent-up demand that will come into the market once buyer sentiment improves," Toll said.

8/09/2006 02:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat's steak.

Hahahah.

8/09/2006 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger chicagofinance said...

Anonymous said...
Chicagofinance....

How is the amount of tax revenue Bergen is losing every week because all the stores are closed a godsend? To me, it makes no sense at all other than the puritanical value to not have anything open on the sabath.

8/09/2006 03:15:49 PM

people are going to shop anyway....isn't it a pleasure that you can drive through Paramus/River Road in Edgewater and not lose 10-20 minutes from traffic?

People should do something else with their leisure time besides shopping. Consider it Bergen's favor to the rest of NJ's retail community.

8/09/2006 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger chicagofinance said...

Anonymous said...
ivy zelman is a real estate lightweight
8/09/2006 02:56:14 PM

go tell the editors of Institutional Investor Magazine

8/09/2006 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger RichinNorthnj said...

How is the amount of tax revenue Bergen is losing every week because all the stores are closed a godsend? To me, it makes no sense at all other than the puritanical value to not have anything open on the sabath.

I believe the Bergen County "Blue Laws" were originally for observing the Sabbath, but not any longer.
It now allows people in Paramus and surrounding towns the opportunity to pull out of their driveway. If people have a need they just plan ahead. It’s more of a quality of life issue now. Most here LOVE the law. Every time it’s put to the people for a vote the law remains.

My wife, who is from CA at first didn’t like the law but now loves it. She finally has a weekend day to herself where she doesn’t need to run to the store for a gift (or $300 jeans!).

8/09/2006 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger chicagofinance said...

Homebuilders & Building Products

Ivy Zelman CSFB

SECOND TEAM Margaret Whelan UBS

THIRD TEAM Stephen Kim Smith Barney Citigroup

8/09/2006 02:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"With many potential buyers on the sidelines right now, we believe there is growing pent-up demand that will come into the market once buyer sentiment improves," Toll said."

Potential buyers backed away from the sidelines a long time ago. They're already peeling out of the parking lot, cash stashed safely in the trunk, jamming to http://tinyurl.com/khkem

I don't know who's left on the sidelines...3rd string?

8/09/2006 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger thatbigwindow said...

Paramus resident here: I love the blue laws!! Traffic is horrible Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and forget about even going on the road on Saturday. Can't we have one day of no people who can't drive on the roads?

8/09/2006 02:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat

8/09/2006 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger thatbigwindow said...

Hudson County eliminated its County Police. I say get rid of Bergen County Police. All they do is cause traffic jams.

Most worthless police force ever!

I was stopped so many times by County Police for BS reasons. Seems to me like they are trying to prove their existance to NJ by stopping everybody, issuing tickets and generating revenue for the state. I wonder if that ticket revenue pays their salaries?

8/09/2006 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger Shailesh Gala said...

The biggest burden has been Abbott school district funding ($31 billion) every year.

The simple solution, merge Abbott school district with neighbouring school districts. This will change the formula as per student funding will be more equal compared to most school districts, resulting in lesser Abbott school financing from state. The money saved should be given to local governments to reduce property taxes.

I know most neighboring school districts will oppose, naturally. But you get more equitable system.

8/09/2006 02:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1- Stop building ridiculous schools, yes education is important but come on
http://montgomerytsd.schoolwires.com/6459_9423111835/site/default.asp
57 Million dollars to build the school.

2-Only allow one pension for current government workers. Also put a cap that in cannot exceed x amount of dollars, no 750,000/year pensions
Take away peoples multiple pensions. People say its not fair to take them away, is it fair we are paying out the wazoo for there 5 pensions?

3-Start taxing big busniesses again. They make truck loads of money they dont need a tax break ie Pfizer. Also increase there taxes, they can afford to fork more over to state taxes.

4-Add a tax for people who live out of state and come to NJ to work. Take an addition 5% out of paycheck taxes.

5-Cut back on busses to NYC. If its not convient for NJ residents who live a work in NJ to get to there jobs, why should people who commute to NYC have it easy?

6-Have government works, teachers etc pay for there own bennifits. Get rid of pensions and let government workers have a 401K like the rest of us.

7-Government needs to stop overpaying people who do nothing good for NJ except ad to the debt.

8-Raise public transportation fares going into NYC.

9-Hey if people have to pay to get into NYC, we should charge the people who commute from PA and DE for work more money. $8.00 in sounds fair.

10-Allow some government workers to work from home, don't need as much realestate.

11-Cut back welfare, if you have 1 kid and need help fine, if you have 2 or more kids and cannot afford to live than you should not have had all those children and they need to be taken away by child services.

12-Last tax certain foods. Yes food is a neccessaty to live, however, icecream, cookies, candy, whip cream, hot fudge etc is not necessary to survive on. So tax it

8/09/2006 04:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

13-One last thing to add, make welfare like unemployment. It only goes for so long. The government does not care if you cannot find a job in the alloted time for unemployment. So do the same thing to welfare, make those lazy people get jobs. Stop with all the handouts NJ

8/09/2006 04:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

some folks cream over these
analysts, upgrade,downgrade,hold,sell
overwweight,underweight,peer perform,neutral ,outperform,market
perform

good luck

8/09/2006 04:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A reality check is needed for all. Teacher's salaries and benes are the reason your property taxes are so high, everyone is so afraid of the unions, or they have a family member as a teacher. So everyone is afraid to upset the applecart.

Adminastrators add up to a lousy 2 % of total budgets, consolidation will only slow the avalanche of debt, it is not the real problem.

We have to teacher friends that are retiring this year at 55, and will recieve pensions of 56,000 and 49,000. They both already have jobs lined up.


WAKE UP POLITICIANS, BEFORE WE SINK

8/09/2006 04:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sink, If nj was a business it
would be in a BK.

8/09/2006 05:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know the $50 credit you get when you file your NJ taxes? I've never understood what is up with that. I work in New York and most years I pay zero NJ income taxes and even get money back because of that credit.

Raise the income tax for everyone while lowering taxes for homeowners. Non-homeowners don't pay their share of taxes. People who work in New York but live in NJ pay nothing at all.

8/09/2006 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger grim said...

Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire (limited), South Dakota, Tennessee (limited), Texas, Washington, and Wyoming all have no state income taxes.

I don't think the amount of taxes paid is the real problem here, it's how that money is spent and utilized.

grim

8/09/2006 05:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: Non-home owners don't pay their share..shouldn't the tax be included in the rent? I've always assumed renters pay their "fair" share through higher rents. No landlord in his right mind would eat taxes.

Just reality here, 6:33.

Anon 5:06: while you're at it with Item 4 (taxing commuters into NJ), why not have PA tax NJ residents who work in PA, and then remit the money back to NJ? Oh, and while you're at it, if you're taxing the folks living in PA and working in NJ, better add on a tax for NJ residents working in NY. Might as well get them coming and going. Oh, I forgot one. How about those losers living in PA and working in NY? Better tax them for using NJ to get to NY.

;)
Pat

8/09/2006 06:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems that Pa. is getting the
overflow of gangs from NJ.

What say you Pat?

Bucks?

8/09/2006 07:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I'd like to see with any reform package is a law capping the % property taxes are allowed to figure in the budget. This will make it impossible for politicians to take the easy way out by raising property taxes everytime a deficit threatens. NJ homeowners would no longer have to rely on promises not to raise taxes.

8/09/2006 08:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, but it's not blatant yet on the gangs. Except for a couple of hot spots, there's a lot of neighborhood vigilance here- homes in residential areas get fingered pretty fast.

Some of the territorial pee markings on the bridges are the same ones I used to see in Philly, though, so not sure of the net effect.

Pat

8/09/2006 09:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For people who seem to have a clue about some things, there are a lot of incredibly stupid statements here. Yes let's take away teacher pensions and lower their salaries because you no longer have pensions so everyone should suffer along with you. Lavish retirements?? You have to be kidding. Teachers don't make nearly as much as those with the same educational levels in the private sector so let's screw them while they're working and then again when they stop. Their pensions aren't what you think they are. Teacher unions are a joke. No one is afraid of them. If you think that's the case then you have a lot of research to do. The reality is they are being broken everywhere. They are being broken because teachers are afraid of everyone and don't stand up for themselves and allow their union to sell them out. And quite honestly, it amazes me that you want to punish the people working with what is supposed to be your most precious commodity, your children.
And don't get me started on the ideas to tax those working in NY and living in NJ and vice versa.
Why don't you blame the people who truly squander this money- the politicans- rather then those who are just trying to make a living? How about maybe their salaries and pensions take a cut?

8/10/2006 05:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 6:01:

If what you're saying is true, then nobody from teachers to janitors to sewer treatment plant operators should be afraid of receiving those total compensation statements from an independent company, that are referred to above, right? Nothing to hide, right? Then those statements can be online in a database searchable by Title, Job Location, etc.

Nothing to hide, is what you are saying, right? Sounds like we agree.

Pat

8/10/2006 05:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The teachers union, and they sit
their with their tee shirts on,
are helping to BK the State.
This is along with the State Workers, take a look at the
numbers.

NJ will spend $3Billion this year
on public employee pensions and
benefits.

Health Care costs are estimated at
$2Billion, up from $750 Million in
2002.

and By 2010,health care and pension
benefits are projected at $6Billion

Local governments owe $650million
this fiscal year for public employee,police and firefighter
pension.

I will say it again.

If NJ was a private company
it would be in a BK.

A receiver would be running it.
Directed by a judge.

8/10/2006 06:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

private schools tend to have smaller classes, greater variety of classes, more extra-curriculars, etc, etc. what they DON'T have are pensions and unlimited healthcare for life.

It has been proven over and over again that small class size does not improve results at all. It sounds nice though. It is being driven because it gives more jobs and power to the Teachers Union.

Allow school vouchers (e.g. 50% of the money spent for the student in public schools) so parents can move their kids to a real school. Bad schools (and teachers) will be eliminated pretty soon.

8/10/2006 07:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

smaller classes is a counterfeit
argument.

8/10/2006 08:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://tinyurl.com/qbzok
"School aid formula ignored, panel told

Education funds tied to rising property tax

New Jersey has shortchanged local school districts by at least $1.1 billion over the past five years by ignoring the provisions of the last school aid formula the Legislature set up, an expert told lawmakers yesterday...

...We need to understand that the funding formula that's been in existence is not really in existence because it hasn't been funded," said Sen. Joseph V. Doria (D-Hudson), one of six lawmakers on the special legislative committee.

"...Lawmakers agreed in their opening statements that the current school funding system is broken, but there was far less consensus on how to resolve the problem.

Doria, a Democrat, and Assemblyman David Wolfe, a Republican from Ocean County, agreed that any new funding law must contain provisions to force future Legislatures to follow its provisions.

Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen) and Doria both cited administrative costs as an area ripe for potential savings and said they would push for more regional consolidation.

Cardinale proposed limiting compensation for school superintendents and other administrators, saying it is improper to pay school officials more than the governor makes..."


Well, it sounds like some of them are trying. Who will walk the walk when it comes time to vote?

Anybody wanna guess?

Pat

8/11/2006 08:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm getting up off the floor after fainting in surprise:

WOW, some pissed off state employee is finally whining for bedchecks.

www.nj.com
"Payroll record under review
TRENTON -- A senior accountant for the city was paid at least four months' pay while he was not at work and the city's finance director/comptroller covered it up, according to a complaint filed by an attorney for the city...

...officials learned of the discrepancy after reviewing a complaint by an employee in the finance department that Perez was not meeting the residency requirement, according to sources."

----
This could be a cool $25K in savings on ONE abuser. Imagine the possibilities.

Maybe Cov. Corzine could give a financial reward to state whistleblowers:

1. Workers willing to report co-workers doing NOTHING all day on the job. My neighbor tells me she works hard, and her coworker sits and dozes all day with no work. This could be documented with a simple picture sent by her cellphone.

2. Reward reports leading to discharge based on falsified employment documents.

3. Reward reports leading to savings based elimination of unnecessary overtime.

4. A huge bonus plus a new job to any employee who develops an acceptable total outsourcing plan for his/her entire department.

Any others?

8/11/2006 09:11:00 AM  

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