Secaucus and North Bergen had been hurt in past years by the Meadowlands Tax Sharing Program, and they had been protesting the fact that they had such a large contribution. Established in 1973, the program has was created to compensate municipalities whose wetlands could not be developed. Neighboring towns who were able to reap the benefits of development, like Secaucus, were forced to give into a pool that was split with the other towns.
This year, the “sending” towns will not be forced to pay into the program, while the “receiving” towns will still get their usual payments thanks to a budget deal the speaker negotiated with Gov. Chris Christie.
“The tax sharing program has been an unfair burden on many municipalities for far too long and I am proud to see the state budget remove this unnecessary expense and provide direct property tax relief to residents,” said Speaker Prieto, who has championed the tax sharing issue in the legislature for several years.
Under the adopted budget, 100 percent of the tax sharing payments will be assumed by the state for the first time ever. A previous agreement struck in last year’s state budget picked up 80 percent of the cost, providing significant relief but still leaving many towns with large expenditures. Speaker Prieto fought to have the full payment included in this year’s budget and is continuing to negotiate for a permanent solution that would remove the tax sharing payments forever while still making sure that “receiving” towns are made whole.
The Tax Sharing Program has come under fire in recent years for being antiquated and creating an unfair burden on the “sending” towns, which include Secaucus, North Bergen, South Hackensack, Moonachie, Lyndhurst, Little Ferry and Carlstadt. The “receiving” towns that will now be compensated by the state are Kearny, Jersey City, Rutherford, Ridgefield, North Arlington and East Rutherford.