This NJ mayor can't afford to live in his own town
In a glaring example of the Garden State's high taxes, James McCullough's $31,000 property tax bill has him looking to sell.
Officials revalued McCullough's property in the township's Seaview Harbor section at more than $1.1 million, a huge jump from the $360,000 he paid to build the home in 1985. As a result, his property taxes have zoomed by nearly 60% to $31,056, which McCullough says he can't afford.
"It's kind of disappointing," he told The Press of Atlantic City. "I thought I would be able to live and die in my home, but it's gotten to the point where it's gotten up so high."
McCollough couldn't be reached for comment for this story.
One of the few things uniting New Jerseyeans, besides admiration for Bruce Springsteen, is hatred for property taxes, which have been a hot-button topic for years. New Jersey is especially dependent on the taxes because, unlike in many other states, its local governments aren't permitted to levy their own sales and income taxes.
And unlike in other states, New Jersey's property taxes are a blend of levies used to fund school districts as well as state and county government operations. Therein lies the problem.
The state, which has a strong tradition of home rule, has about 566 municipalities and 588 school districts. Officials such as Republican Gov. Chris Christie have been pushing local governments to merge in order to cut expenses. Even so, the cost of living in New Jersey remains stubbornly high.
Tax Foundation data show the state's effective property tax rate is 1.9% and its property tax per capita is $2,819, both the highest in the nation. The state's total $6,689-per-capita tax burden is second only Connecticut's.
One thing's for sure: New Jersey residents will hear plenty of talk about property taxes ahead of next year's election for governor. Residents, though, will demand that officials in Trenton back up their words with deeds.
As for McCullough, he's going to try to move to another house in the township. If that plan fails, he may head to Florida, where he owns a condo that carries a tiny tax burden of $2,569.
Jonathan Berr is a Jersey resident who knows well the burden homeowners there shoulder. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
Taxing people beyond their ability to pay is not only unjust, it's very destabilizing to communities.
It's funny, but as populated and dense as NJ is, the graduating classes from the high schools are like 80 kids. The townships are only a couple square miles, and they all have their own police, fire, administrators, school system, park system...
Part of it is bigotry as the Italians don't mix with the Irish who don't talk to the Puerto Ricans who don't talk to the blacks, so they all segregate into their own little townships. Part of it is just the fact that everybody wants to be a major player in their town, so they break them up into little portions.
Can't they all just get along.
That is what Liberalism gets you. Big government that the common man works for. They voted those idiots in office so bend over and take it like you have it coming!
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