Tired of Trenton Being the Fall Guy? Sign the Petition

I wrote last week about Trenton City Council’s unanimous adoption of Ordinance 13-58, which signed up the City to the State of New Jersey’s “Economic Opportunity Act of 2013,” which intends to keep current businesses in the State of New Jersey and attract new ones to the state by providing a number of financial incentives.

It’s a bad, bad deal for Trenton, as I will review below.

There is a Petition being circulated this weekend that asks Trenton City Council for Ordinance 13-58 “be either repealed by the City Council of the City of Trenton or, if not entirely repealed, then the question shall be submitted to the voters of the City of Trenton” in a ballot referendum this Spring.

This petition needs several hundred signatures immediately, this weekend, if we want this on the ballot in May, the same time we will elect our new city officials.

The Petition is being managed by a Committee made up of Michael McGrath (who also managed the 2010 Trenton Water Works referendum that sank the proposed sale of half the city’s water utility to a private company), Karen McGrath, Darren “Freedom” Green, Robert Lowe and Ann Carlucci.

I have copies of the petition, as do all of the members of the Committee, and several  other citizens, such as Jim Carlucci.  We are hitting Trenton this weekend.

If you would like to sign the petition, please let us know. Tonight.

If you would like to get your neighbors to sign the petition, let us know. Tonight.

This incentive program is primarily made of tax benefits and credits to NJ State taxes. However, these tax goodies to businesses – focused on a select number of industries and in many cases specific lucky (and politically connected!) companies – include generous giveaways of local property tax revenues for up to 20 years.

Four lucky NJ cities – Trenton, Paterson, Camden and Passaic – will have the singular honor, courtesy of the State of New Jersey and Trenton’s City Council, of hosting new commercial development, the owners of which will not have to pay one dime of Trenton property tax on any improvements or construction they do on Trenton real estate, for ten years. After the 10th year, taxes will be slowly introduced, in increments of pennies on the dollar, for another ten years.

This is what’s called a Tax Holiday.

Of course, over these 20 years, these new developments will enjoy protection by Trenton Police and Fire Departments, streets and traffic lights maintained or perhaps even improved by Trenton Public Works, and other city services. But these developments will not have to pay for them.

Not a dime for ten years. And pennies for most of another ten.

Nice Holiday!

So, who will pay for these city services? (Here’s a hint: take a look in the mirror!!)

That’s No Holiday for Trenton’s Taxpayers!

Look, if the State of New Jersey – the Governor, the Legislature and the Economic Development Authority – wants to improve the business climate in the state by using State tax money, be my guest!

But when it wants to make a real sweetheart deal by crippling Trenton’s property tax base even further than it has for the last several decades, I have a problem with that.

Do I exaggerate?

The official fiscal estimate prepared by the NJ Office of Legislative Services says – on its cover page – that this program

will result in significantly reduced property tax revenues for the cities of Paterson, Passaic, Trenton and Camden.

So, why did City Council approve this program, unanimously?

I have no clue?

What is in it for the City of Trenton? What do we get out of it?

For ten years, Nothing. For ten years after that, Loose Change.

Sound fair to you? No?

Then Sign the Petition!

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