Re: 'What is this, Russia?' Jersey City property owners fight developer

Posted by DanL on 2018/7/11 10:44:20
Mostly agree, but! At present the city gets (at the expense of the schools and county) more money from most, but not all abatements than if a project was taxed conventionally. But with two caveats, the amounts are fixed or adjusted by contract whereas ratables will generate more tax dollars as the rate is increased AND some abatements actually do pay less, ie. 1 Journal Squared which pays $1200-$1500/yr per apartment.

In the short term, a dollar is a dollar, but as time goes on "rateables" are more valuable because they are "rateables." Abatements distort our local finances and allowed our city budget to balloon while claiming taxes are flat (the rate but not the amount) and our schools are starved (and feeling it.) The payroll tax will help, but will not fully replace the monies that our city "stole" from our schools.

Oh, and I absolutely do not believe that we should be trying raise tax dollars by taking people's residences via eminent domain. We have numerous examples of redevelopment plans that have taken decades to be built (partially built), Liberty Harbor, Colgate, Whitock Cordage, Hotel on the Square etc.


bodhipooh wrote:

HeightsNative wrote:

bodhipooh wrote:

Yvonne wrote:
If property is tax abated, it does not help, that is a contract and the city spends that money as fast as it receives. If it is not tax abatement then it is a ratable, which stabilizes the tax base and the county, schools will get their fair share.

You have NO IDEA what you are talking about, but that has already been established! Ratable or abatement, it is still money to the city. Whatever money the city gets from an abatement, it represents actual "income" which means the city needs to raise less money via regular taxation.

And, of course, there is that little pesky fact you choose to ignore: the abatement payments actually add more money to the city coffers than if the property in question was paying regular taxes. Why don't we talk about that??

Bodhi, you know I am a fan, and it pains me to say this, but Yvonne's point is very valid. Yes, abatements add to the city's coffers, but at the expense of the schools. It works as long as the state never realizes they're overfunding the district and the state aid continues unchanged, or increases.

Right before our very eyes, we're seeing the house of cards situation unfold. The state now recognizes it sends way too much money to Jersey (those paying property taxes post reval will have one of the lowest property tax rates in the state), and are pulling the funding. If you had less abatements, the city would be better prepared to absorb the tax increase that will result from the state pulling the aid. Instead, they're going to levy a corporate tax. And when that option runs out, guess who pays? The rateable portion of the city. Fulop will stop at nothing to keep from raising municipal taxes to fund the schools, because he has a streak to protect, but that day WILL come. And it's going to be ugly.

Abataments definitely have their place. I'm not anti abatement. But, abatements in JC help any sitting mayor fund pet projects that win votes. When abused, you create a massive fiscal issue, just like the 30 year delayed tax reval.

Yes, abatements don't get shared with the county (except for a paltry 5%) but the city still contributes to the school budget! The school does not rely on just direct taxation and contributions by the state and federal governments. The city government also sends a chunk of money to the BOE.

The part that drives me nuts about Yvonne's selective presentation of information is that she conveniently leaves out that the city collects MORE money through the abatements than it would under regular taxation. That larger amount translates to lower taxes. Ultimately, the budget is essentially a fixed amount (call it X) and it is made up of several sources of revenue, mostly taxes, PILOTs (abatement payments) and things like fines and fees. If the PILOTs were to go down, then the revenue has to be made up elsewhere, and since you can't force fees and fines high enough, fast enough, the only viable solution is to increase revenue from taxation. That means taxes would have to go up to make up the decrease from revenue generated through abatements, and go up by a larger overall amount than the one paid through the PILOT to make up the effective difference.

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