Bipartisan Effort to Return Energy Receipts Begins with DeAngelo Legislation Urged by Mayor Yaede, Following Yaede’s Calls for Action
A bipartisan effort that hopes to return taxpayer dollars to local budgets to offset property taxes has begun with Hamilton Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex) introducing legislation that has the backing of Hamilton Mayor Kelly (R-Hamilton).
The initiative, if approved by specific majorities of the State Legislature, would allow New Jersey voters to consider a ballot measure that would amend the State Constitution and return a portion of revenue (known as Energy Receipts and CMPTRA or Consolidated Municipal Property Tax Relief Aid) to prior levels over a period of five years to help offset property taxes.
If approved by the State Legislature and voters, the measure would return and constitutionally protect Energy Receipts and CMPTRA at State Fiscal Year 2008 levels (the same level that a 2012 bill passed by the State Legislature attempted to reclaim) and returns approximately $400 million to local budgets, in equal 20 percent intervals, phased in over five years. The total amount of monies returned over five years would represent just one and one quarter percent of the recently signed 2014 state budget.
Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede has long targeted the return of Hamilton’s energy receipts, dating back to her days on the Township Council. In both 2010 and 2012, she supported resolutions calling for the return these taxpayer dollars, which would directly offset property taxes. Earlier this year, Mayor Yaede wrote to Governor Christie, Senate President Sweeny and Assembly Speaker Prieto and called for energy receipts to be returned directly to taxpayers’ local budgets to offset property taxes.
More recently in February, during her State of the Township Address, Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede originally called for such an approach, because it would bypass a likely gubernatorial veto.
Assemblyman DeAngelo – who represents Hamilton Township in the State Legislature – introduced the measure and will seek support from fellow lawmakers over the coming months. The DeAngelo initiative mirrors previous legislation that was both sponsored by himself, Senator Linda Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex) and Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). Following Mayor Yaede reaching out to Assemblyman DeAngelo, the Assemblyman met with Mayor Yaede, along with the Mayors of East Windsor and Robbinsville.
"This measure is all about lowering the property tax burden for middle-class taxpayers,” says Assemblyman DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Although towns must continue to find ways to achieve cost-savings, it is necessary for towns to be provided with those tax dollars collected locally in order to keep property taxes under the State’s two percent cap and provide critical services for residents.”
“If Hamilton taxpayers had the same level of energy receipts that this effort is seeking to return, today, we could have cut property taxes in Hamilton this year because our budget cut $3.3 million in spending,” says Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede. “I commend Assemblyman DeAngelo for not only working in a bipartisan manner with me and the other involved Mayors, but for making this cooperative effort solely about the taxpayers that we all represent, regardless of our different party affiliations.”