For decades, New Jersey families have been left holding the bag with tax increase after tax increase to prop up government's addiction to out-of-control spending, borrowing and debt.
The result is an astounding 70 percent rise in property taxes over the last decade that has burdened families, driven people out of our state and left us with the highest property taxes in the nation.
As Gov. Chris Christie has stated, there comes a point when the people's ability to pay runs out - when families are overtaxed and spending has exploded even beyond the point of excess. We know that the people in our communities have reached that point. It's the reason Christie is taking a bold, aggressive approach to cap property taxes and bring real relief to New Jerseyans.
For the past 30 years, mayors and other local leaders have been left on the sideline as politicians in Trenton have failed to address the crisis and failed to provide us with tools to do it ourselves. Rather than rethink how the underlying causes of property taxes could be controlled, Trenton's solutions always began and ended with throwing more taxpayer dollars at the problem.
This time things are different.
Christie's Cap 2.5 Reform Agenda finally addresses the crisis by capping the tax levy, empowering communities with tools to control costs and giving the people the ultimate say over higher taxes. This reform package is a cap on property tax increases, a cap on discretionary spending, as well as a toolkit of 33 specific legislative reforms that deal with collective bargaining, civil service, health care, education and pensions.
These reforms actually get at the root of the problem - uncontrolled costs.
At the time of this writing, over 190 mayors have joined us in standing with the governor in his fight for real property tax relief. We support the Cap 2.5 Reform Agenda. We know it is necessary and we know that if the full body of reforms is adopted, the 2.5 percent cap will work.
Now is the time to give the people final voice over their property taxes. Christie has provided bold, strong leadership that is capable of bringing this to life. The governor has recognized the fullness of the property tax problem, provided a comprehensive package of solutions and, most important, is devoting the force of his leadership to achieve them.
Christie's reform agenda delivers and we are proud to stand with him in this fight to bring lasting property tax relief to the Garden State.
Stephen C. Acropolis is mayor of Brick and a Republican. Richard J. Gerbounka is mayor of Linden and an independent. Andrew Sarclette is mayor of Maurice River and Dawn Zimmer is mayor of Hoboken; both are Democrats.
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