WASHINGTON, D.C. – Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) strongly opposes efforts to raise New Jersey property taxes, as proposed by several members of the state Assembly and Senate. Assemblymen John C. Gibson (R-1) and Nicholas Asselta (R-1) and Senator Andrew r. Ciesla (R-10) sponsored the bills requiring public school districts in need of noneducational services (such as cafeteria, transportation, and custodial) to first consult with the union.

Assembly Bill 2231 and Senate Bill 1126 will cause property taxes to increase by limiting the ability of school districts to contract for noneducational services with private businesses. Last year, taxpayers saved an estimated $28 million – and perhaps as much as $58 million – in property taxes because school districts contracted with independent bus services, cafeteria and custodial services. Union power to influence administrative measures will add another bureaucratic layer to an already complex process. More bureaucracy costs taxpayers more of their hard-earned income, and in this case will thwart a proven cost-cutting means of providing necessary school services.

Assembly Bill 2231 and Senate Bill 1126 were reintroduced earlier this year after Governor Whitman vetoed their predecessor, Assembly Bill 744, in January 2000. This time, if Assembly Bill 2231 and Senate Bill 1126 pass the legislature next week, Governor DiFrancesco is likely to sign them into law.

New Jersey taxpayers already pay the highest property taxes in the nation, an average of $4,424 per homeowner. Property taxes have increased $1,010 since 1993, at a rate of increase much greater than inflation.

"Assembly Bill 2231 and Senate bill 1126 are a blatant attempt to increase union power at the expense of taxpayers who are already over-burdened," said Grover Norquist, President of ATR. "Effective cost-cutting measures should not be sacrificed to the whims of the union\\\’s social agenda. If contracting with private companies gets the job done and saves taxpayers money, why not continue this practice? Because unions are always on the lookout to increase their membership, even at the expense of taxpayers."

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