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Legislature To Hold Special Session on Property Taxes

Jun 27, 2006

Senate President Richard J. Codey and Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts, Jr. recently announced plans for an unprecedented special Legislative session that would work throughout the summer and fall with the goal of enacting property tax reforms by the end of this year.

The announcement lays out an unparalleled framework to bring about legislative measures and corresponding action aimed at reducing the property tax burdens of New Jersey residents. It would mark the first time in the State’s history that the Legislature will create four special bicameral, bipartisan joint committees tasked with looking at the property tax problem from all angles.

The special session will begin in July when Governor Corzine presents the session’s goals and expectations in an address to a joint session of the Legislature. The Senate and Assembly both would pass joint resolutions to create four joint committees:

· Joint Committee on School Funding. The committee would seek to implement reforms to the current school funding formula to mitigate disparities and inequalities between urban and suburban/rural schools, among other changes;

· Joint Committee on Benefits Reform. The committee would use the recommendations from the Pension and Benefits Review Task Force, convened last year by Governor Codey, as the basis for Legislative proposals to end abuses of the public benefit system and control benefit costs statewide;

· Joint Committee on Government Consolidation and Shared Services. This joint committee would serve as a launch pad for drafting measures to promote service sharing at all levels of government and examine potential consolidation of certain State government functions;

· Joint Committee on a Citizens’ Convention and Constitutional Reform. The committee would address property tax issues that require constitutional remedies with the goal of laying the groundwork for a Citizens’ Convention that would be put to voters on the November 2007 ballot.

The joint committees would immediately begin work on developing legislative proposals, with a deadline for completing their work by September 30. The proposals would be forwarded to the Legislature’s standing committees with the goal of achieving final legislative action by the end of the year.

By crafting proposed measures jointly in both the Senate and Assembly, there is less likelihood of legislative gridlock, thereby increasing the session’s chances of success.