Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, R-Somerville, said the $80 million lost in Jersey City property taxes is unfair to the rest of the state's taxpayers, who fund a large portion of the city's school district."This report reveals the tip of an iceberg that is vast and mostly underwater," said Ciattarelli, who serves as the assistant Republic Whip. "Short-term property tax abatements, under very special circumstances, may have their place. What's happening in Jersey City and elsewhere is crony capitalism at its worst and an injustice to all New Jersey taxpayers.A draft of the city's budget revealed that Jersey City collects $119.2 million from 146 payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreements, compared to the $198.6 million the city could have collected last year if the properties had been billed in full."At a time when the state is experiencing a painful squeeze on its budget and can't afford to make the full teachers' pension payment, the abatements exploit the state school funding formula," Ciattarelli said. "If communities want to provide tax abatements to encourage development, they should fund them from municipal and county taxes, not school property taxes."
The Jersey Journal, for its part, concludes the article with a total lack of comprehension of what Jack Ciatterelli is accusing Jersey City of.
City officials, who told The Jersey Journal that many of the tax abatements listed date back before Democratic Mayor Steve Fulop took office, said only $19 million -- not $80 million -- is actually lost tax revenue. The city keeps a large share of PILOTs but it splits normal property tax revenue with the county and the school district.
Umm, Ciatterri is accusing Jersey City of hurting STATE taxpayers. The "$19 million" figure from the Jersey City press office refers to lost revenue to the Jersey City municipal government, not to the state, the Jersey City schools, or Hudson County.