Governor Chris Christie joined by Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno and Newark Mayor Cory Booker make an announcement regarding the proposal to cap property tax increases to no more than 2.5 percent. (Transcript Below)
(Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno's Remarks)
"Hey everybody, good morning. Thank you for being here. Miss Eva, thank you so much for letting us come and invade your space this morning, and I'm happy to be here to talk about Cap 2.5 this morning.
It doesn't matter where you live in New Jersey, whether you live in one of our cities like here in Newark or in Paterson or Passaic or Atlantic City or Camden or Trenton, or whether you live in one of our suburbs like Mendham, where I come from, or Monmouth Beach where Kim is from, all across the state people understood that property taxes have been completely out of control and we need to rein in local government and rein in the property taxes on a permanent basis.
We have seen Republicans and Democrats both come up with quick fixes for the property tax problem, one rebate program after another, Senior Freeze, property tax rebates especially for seniors, for the disabled, for regular folks. and what happens is Trenton pays those rebates for a while and then when budget times get tough they can't pay them, and property taxes continue to go up, 70% in the last ten years in New Jersey, and that's the tax that you have to pay regardless of how much money you have in the bank, regardless of whether you're working or not working, because if you don't pay it you lose your home, and it is a tax that's driving people from the state of New Jersey and we have to stop it, and we have to stop it permanently and we can no longer count on the politicians to fix the problem because both parties have failed us in that regard, so this is not a partisan issue, and I think this morning is another indication that this is not a partisan issue.
Mayor Booker and I have worked together for a long time. We worked together when I was US Attorney and he ran for mayor the first time in 2002, and we worked at the US Attorney's Office to ensure that that was a fair election where everybody got to vote without threat of violence or coercion or any cheating, and his campaign worked with us as did Mayor James's campaign to try to ensure that would happen, and then in 2006 when he was elected mayor he came to see me right after his election and said that he needed help on the crime issue. He needed federal help right away, and we stood up and we partnered together, and I think you've seen some of the results of the small amount of effort that we helped to start on the federal level, but of the extraordinary effort that Mayor Booker has put in to try to make Newark a safer place again.
And now we stand together on the issue of property taxes and we do because we both know that government needs to be put under control and that the people should decide about their property taxes, no longer the politicians.
And that's why I want a constitutional amendment to cap property taxes at 2.5%, and that the only exceptions will be for the city to pay their debt service and for you all, if you want, to vote for higher property taxes, because you're the only ones who will be able to raise your property taxes any longer. No mayor, no council will be able to raise your property taxes above 2.5%. Only you'd be able to do it.
Now I know that there are professional politicians in Trenton who don't like the idea of giving up that power. They want to have the power to raise your property taxes. They want to have the power to decide how your money is spent, and they've been a miserable failure for thirty years, and that's why we sit in the position we sit today, the highest property taxes in America.
And so I am really gratified that Mayor Booker would reach across party lines with me to do this together, because this isn't about Republican or Democrat or independent. It's not about what city you live in, what section of the state. It is about making our state an economic engine again. It's about being fair to the people of every age, senior citizens who have raised their families in a home and want to stay there, young couples who want to buy their first home but can't because of the property taxes, and middle class folks who have lost their jobs or had their hours cut back, who want to stay in those homes until economic times get better. That's what it's all about.
So it's not about any particular class, any particular party, or any particular region of the state. It's for everyone in New Jersey and that's why I'm so gratified that Mayor Booker is here today to support our plan. We intend to work with him not only on this but on a variety of other issues that are going to continue the recovery of Newark and make it the place that it was when I lived here, from the time I was born until I was five years old, and I'm going to continue to work with Mayor Booker..."