N.J. rethinking property taxes

July 29, 2006 at 12:07 AM
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TRENTON, N.J., July 28 (UPI) -- New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine opened a special session of the state Legislature Friday to deal with the state's high property taxes.

The session comes less than a month after Democrats in the state capitol refused to accept the Democratic governor's proposed sales tax increase -- leaving the state without a budget for several days after the July 1 deadline. Thousands of people, including Atlantic City casino workers, were put out of work temporarily by the impasse.

Corzine said in a speech Friday that the state must control pension and health insurance costs for state workers, reduce its debt and modernize the tax structure. He said New Jersey must also provide greater incentives for its 566 municipalities and 600 school districts to share services.

Although New Jersey has a sales tax and income tax, it is second only to New Hampshire -- which has neither -- in its dependence on the property tax.

"We have to make these reforms stick," Corzine said. "We have to create mechanisms to contain spending that will stand the test of time."

Corzine recommends creating the position of state comptroller, with a six-year term.

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