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Re: New Jersey Policy Perspective Report on Tax Abatements in Jersey City
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With hopes to clarify how Jersey City's PILOT receipts get divided, here goes:
95% go to J.C.'s municipal coffers
5% go to the Hudson County coffers
0% go to the J.C. Board of Education

[Until Secaucus sued Jersey City, about 10 years ago, none of the PILOT receipts were allocated at all to the County. The settlement yielded the 5% allocation.]

Which means that non-abated property owners (collectively) fund the entirety of the local contribution to JCBOE (schools). And with the State of New Jersey, per prior announcements, lessening its subsidies of the JCBOE, that annual total - the tax burden on J.C.'s non-abated property owners - will continue to increase.

As well, J.C.'s non-abated property owners fund the majority of the local contribution to the County's budget, i.e., everything above and beyond what's generated from 5% of the PILOT receipts.

Of course, in re-reading the above, the reality still feels terribly opaque...

Posted on: 2009/9/29 16:57
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Re: Despite criticism, city still backs tax abatements for developers
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No. JC public schools are funded by the state (about 80%) and the city (the remainder.)

Posted on: 2009/9/29 16:56
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Re: Despite criticism, city still backs tax abatements for developers
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Yes, that's my point. What I'm asking, though, is whether Xerxes' thesis that Kearny and Secaucus tax-payers contribute any money whatsoever to the JCBOE is true.

Quote:

T-Bird wrote:
JC schools receive 28% of dollars raised through property taxes and only 5% of revenue generated from PILOT payments. The county issue goes beyond schools - Jersey City consumes other county services (courts, sheriff, prisons, etc.) The county gets nothing from PILOT payments.

Quote:

Iwitness wrote:
I thought that municipal taxes went to one's own school sytem, and not another's. The abatement system short-changing the County arguably has a negative impact on residents of other Hudson County municipalities like Secaucus and Kearny, but the schools (aside from County schools, obviously, which are open to all County residents) are a separate and discrete issue, right?

Somebody who actually knows what they're talking about re: abatements, please help me make sense of this. Thanks.

Posted on: 2009/9/29 15:19
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Re: Despite criticism, city still backs tax abatements for developers
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JC schools receive 28% of dollars raised through property taxes and only 5% of revenue generated from PILOT payments. The county issue goes beyond schools - Jersey City consumes other county services (courts, sheriff, prisons, etc.) The county gets nothing from PILOT payments.

Quote:

Iwitness wrote:
I thought that municipal taxes went to one's own school sytem, and not another's. The abatement system short-changing the County arguably has a negative impact on residents of other Hudson County municipalities like Secaucus and Kearny, but the schools (aside from County schools, obviously, which are open to all County residents) are a separate and discrete issue, right?

Somebody who actually knows what they're talking about re: abatements, please help me make sense of this. Thanks.

Posted on: 2009/9/29 15:12
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Re: Despite criticism, city still backs tax abatements for developers
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Quote:

Xerxes wrote:
How people in Secaucus and Kearny allow themselves to pay for Jersey City schools so that the umpteemth Jersey City Waterfront developer gets yet anothe million a year from the people paying REAL taxes defies rationality.


I thought that municipal taxes went to one's own school sytem, and not another's. The abatement system short-changing the County arguably has a negative impact on residents of other Hudson County municipalities like Secaucus and Kearny, but the schools (aside from County schools, obviously, which are open to all County residents) are a separate and discrete issue, right?

Somebody who actually knows what they're talking about re: abatements, please help me make sense of this. Thanks.

Posted on: 2009/9/29 14:03
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Re: Despite criticism, city still backs tax abatements for developers
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How the County and the Schools allow Jersey City to get away with continuing shenanigans like this obver the years is beyond me. How people in Secaucus and Kearny allow themselves to pay for Jersey City schools so that the umpteemth Jersey City Waterfront developer gets yet anothe million a year from the people paying REAL taxes defies rationality. And this largesse is for squeezing ANOTHER junky tower into an excruciating overbuilt waterfront. Does ANYONE think there was rationale to give tax incentives to build a gargantuan tower or two smooshed between the two hotels on Washington Street. Call it Pep Buy Towers, or Blown Tire Court, perhaps Sparkplug Mews?

Of course, if one assumes that each politician receives a bagful of money for each vote, then one can see why it is happening. There is NO other conceivable reason.

So the BESTrebuttal the city's lawyers can come up with is that the report made a numerical error in that the $695K that Sugar House paid would have been, as Bressler claimed, $1.6M theypounced and said "Oh no, we caught you, it would have only been $1 Million." That's like Eichmann's attaking his prosecutors by saying "On NO-oh, it was only 5.9 million Jews."

Long ago Secaucus and Hoboken brought suit against Jersey City for avoiding school and County taxes. ANybody know which judge was bought off on that one?

If we live long enough we may see MANY more pols in handcuffs over this continuing boondoggle...and methinks Healy can feel his wrists pinching from the hot manacles already that may be why he backed away from the last abatement re-enhancement. I hope he gets to share a cell with Schundler.

On, and that 15 million "affordable housing" warchest used seeemingly to justify these tax breaks...I wonder how much is actually IN the account. Has anyone seen any affordable housing going up recently?

Congratulation to Naomi Mressler, for stating clearly what we all KNOW. I hope the Governor reads the report.

Posted on: 2009/9/29 11:59
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Despite criticism, city still backs tax abatements for developers
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Despite criticism, city still backs tax abatements for developers

by Ricardo Kaulessar
Hudson Reporter Staff Writer

STATING THEIR CASE ? Jersey City Business Administrator Brian O? Reilly and Assistant City Corporation Counsel Joanne Monahan challenged tax abatements critics at Monday?s city council caucus.

Jersey City officials are disputing a recent report from a statewide think tank that says tax abatements for developments along the city?s waterfront are disadvantageous and possibly unnecessary.

For many years, Jersey City has offered developers special formulas for their property taxes, as an incentive for them to build here. This spares the developers from the vagaries of regular fluctuating property taxes, and the money can go straight into the city budget, rather than being shared with the school system.

But some say that developers no longer need an incentive to build on the city?s prosperous waterfront, and that it?s not fair that other taxpayers have to pay regular school taxes while developers don?t contribute.

Naomi Bressler, a policy analyst with New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP), presented a report critiquing the city?s abatement policy during the City Council caucus on Monday.
_____________

?From my perspective, the conclusions were not accurate.? ? Eugene Paolino
________

Written with Hudson County resident Carolyn Topp, the report, ?All That Glitters Isn?t Gold ? Tax Abatements in Jersey City,? outlines the shortcomings of abatements granted to developers along the city?s waterfront (aka the ?Gold Coast?). They argue that because abated properties are excluded from paying school taxes and only pay a fraction of county taxes, other taxpayers must pay for that shortfall.

The report also echoes what critics have long argued, that abatements may not be needed to entice developers to build on the waterfront anymore since it has become such a desirable area. It recommends city and state officials limit abatements to no longer than 10 years, establish a state review of all property tax abatements above a certain value, and make abatement negotiations public.

City responds

The city responded Monday by charging that the report was inaccurate and uninformed on the city?s abatement policy. They have also countered with their own report rebutting the points made by abatement critics.

At the meeting, Bressler was questioned by Assistant City Corporation Counsel Joanne Monahan and City Business Administrator Brian O?Reilly over what they called inaccuracies in the report. They challenged her on her knowledge of abatement policy, which a feisty Bressler tried to deflect by saying she was looking for questions on the ?substance of the report.?

Councilman Michael Sottolano had a spirited back-and-forth with Bressler about whether abatements helped stabilize the city?s tax rate.

O?Reilly offered a 29-page rebuttal to the NJPP report ? created in July ? and invited Bressler to come back or to submit her response to their rebuttal by e-mail.

After the presentation, Bressler said she felt city officials were employing a ?tactic? of questioning her on information she didn?t have in front of her.

Differing views unabated

When Bressler was speaking, she had a small audience of local residents who agreed.

Yvonne Balcer, longtime critic of abatements and a Downtown Jersey City homeowner, said she had read the NJPP report and said Bressler was ?right on.? She said the council had tried to ?justify their actions? in granting abatements, which she said resulted in the city not paying its fair share of county and school taxes.

However, local attorney Eugene Paolino, who has represented various developers seeking abatements from Jersey City government, said he found it ?interesting? that Bressler wanted to speak only on the recommendations and not address how the report was put together.

?It seems to me that the recommendations were based on the conclusions made in the report,? Paolino said. ?From my perspective, the conclusions were not accurate.?

The city makes its case

In a meeting on Tuesday at City Hall with members of the local media, O? Reilly, Monahan, and Deputy Mayor Rosemary McFadden said the NJPP researchers who put together the report should have done ?due diligence.?

An example of the supposed inadequate research was the money received by the city for the abatement of the Sugar House, a 65-unit condominium building on Washington Street downtown, where condos sell for as much as $1 million.

Based on information gathered online, the NJPP report found that in 2007, the owners of the Sugar House, under their tax abatement, paid a total of $695,477 to Jersey City, consisting of $39,066 in taxes and $656,411 in payments in lieu of taxes (or PILOT). The report claims that under normal taxation the developers would have paid $1,627,108 or $931,631 more. They say city would have received $746,845; the county would have received $413,741 and the Jersey City School District, $455,965.

However, O?Reilly said the city?s calculations found that the Sugar House owners, under normal taxation, would have paid $1,016,344, with the city?s share $466,364. Under the abatement agreement the Sugar House paid $652,216 directly to the city. So while other entities may have missed out, the city benefited.

McFadden said the benefits of the abatements have gone beyond just giving tax breaks to wealthy developers and the tenants occupying their buildings, pointing out that development has created 22,000 full-time jobs and added $15 million to the city?s Affordable Housing Trust Fund since 2003.

However, the city is agreeing to the report?s call for transparency by putting the city?s rebuttal to the report and another report on the financial benefits of abatements on the city website: www.cityofjerseycity.com.

And the city is planning to open tax abatement committee meetings to the public.

Healy says no revised abatement for 77 Hudson St.

Mayor Jerramiah Healy on Monday sent a letter to the City Council stating that he does not support an amendment to the 20-year abatement for the $250 million 77 Hudson St. development project.

As with other developers, the owners of this project already received an abatement for it years ago, but wanted to revise it because of the economy.

Their proposed amendment would extend their abatement 10 more years and reduce the project?s service charge.

Healy said he reviewed the application himself and found that 77 Hudson St. should not have an amended abatement because is ?nearly fully developed.? - RK

Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at rkaulessar@hudsonreporter.com.

Posted on: 2009/9/28 15:15
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Re: New Jersey Policy Perspective Report on Tax Abatements in Jersey City
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Posted on: 2009/9/23 15:27
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Re: Tax Abatement Policy Criticism Draws Council Anger
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Quote:

covetalker wrote:
Tempers flare as Jersey City officials debate tax abatement policy with critic

[from "The Jersey Journal," September 21, 2009, 10:42 p.m.]

. . .
The NJPP report gave the example of Sugar House, a 65-unit tax-abated condominium. The report says that in 2007, condo owners there paid a total of $695,477, 95 percent of it going to Jersey City. But if they had paid conventional taxes, they would have paid more than twice that ? $1,627,108, with $746,477 going to the city.

But Jersey City Business Administrator Brian O?Reilly challenged Bressler?s calculations, wielding their own calculations on four buildings ? 101 Hudson, 10 Exchange Place, Cali-Grove Street and Harborside Plaza 2 & 3 ? that recently switched from abatements to conventional taxes. He said in those examples, the city received an average of 31 percent less under conventional taxes.

. . .

But he said it was obvious that the presentation ?pushed some buttons? for the council leading to a defensive response. ?They addressed minor issues but they didn?t seem to put much thought into the issues in the report,? he said.

-- Amy Sara Clark


In case anyone didn't notice, O'Reilly (tool that he is) countered with only commercial property abatements that were truly used to get businesses over here. The residential really shouldn't be compared to commercial. Does anyone have more of an explanation for the differences in tax bases, etc.?

Posted on: 2009/9/22 17:44
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Re: Tax Abatement Policy Criticism Draws Council Anger
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If I were currently advising any member of the city council (which I'm not) -- I would generally advocate taking a risky, outside-the-government-status quo position on this issue. They are four years from any election where the dollars earned from developers would make a difference. In the meantime -- it's quite likely that political dynamics in JC will change enough to create the cover they will eventually need in the form of actual grass roots support. I don't know what that "risky" position is, exactly. I'm just noting that if you're a council member playing political long-ball, the smart move might be to go outside the box right now.

Posted on: 2009/9/22 17:22
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Re: Tax Abatement Policy Criticism Draws Council Anger
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The woman's presentation was waylaid by the council and the administration's reps. However, she allowed herself to be thrown off by arguments over "blighted" versus "area in need of redevelopment" and stuff like that. In essence, it was a philosophical difference, or at least a difference in perspective. You can't argue against this council by falling for the head fake.

Posted on: 2009/9/22 16:51
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Re: Tax Abatement Policy Criticism Draws Council Anger
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Quote:

T-Bird wrote:
Yvonne,

To have an apples to apples discussion, you'd need to have the revaluation first. Saying someone pays more than 3% on a 1989 valuation and comparing that to someone paying 1.6% on a 2007 valuation is disingenuous to say the least. Yes ratables are part of the city budget. So are PILOTs. It is a line in the city budget that accounted for $88 million in the most recently published budget.

People on abatements pay a hell of a lot of taxes - I'd bet that anyone who bought in the past five years is paying a disproportionate share. The problem isn't that people on abatements are getting a free ride. The problem is that what is paid isn't being distributed equitably.

All of that said, I agree that abatements have been given out far too frequently and under overly generous terms in many cases. Reform needs to happen - mostly in how PILOT dollars are distributed. But that conversation shouldn't begin until after a revaluation.


T-Bird,

Thanks. Relieved that others are really reading Yvonne's statements carefully, analyzing them and making intelligent clarifications. Let's say for example that Yvonne has owned a four family brownstone on Hamilton Park for 15-20 years and has done nothing to her property to trigger a revaluation, she could very well be paying less to the city than people who bought a newly renovated/built/converted 1 bedroom condo down the street or in one of the waterfront towers. That owner could be paying $10-15K to the city annually for that property while Yvonne pays $5K for a property worth twice as much and multiple times larger. From the taxpayer's perspective, it matters little whether most of Yvonne's payment goes to the schools and county while only a small portion of his does. The taxpayer has no control over how the city distributes his payment.

Also, school budgets take the number of students on free and reduced lunches into account, not the number of poor residents. These are two completely different things. For example: 5 poor residents without kids have no impact on the school budget, while 1 resident with 5 kids in public school does.

Posted on: 2009/9/22 15:34
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Re: Tax Abatement Policy Criticism Draws Council Anger
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Unfortunately in order for change to be brought the political engine that benefits from approving these abatement/PILOT programs would have to admit they have been doing business poorly and not necessarily in all the residents best interest. I wouldn't hold my breath.

IMHO, The abatement/PILOT programs are a necessary evil. There are areas through out JC that need aggressive abatement/PILOT programs(Bergen Lafayette, Greenville, and the West side). The waterfront not so much. Think The Beacon vs 77 Hudson.

All abatements are not created equal the JC abatements are not like the 421A's of NYC, the abatement/PILOT programs here are far more expensive.

Reform on how the evaluations and approvals are performed is important in this regard. It's hard to say whether a uniform approval process where all properties are subject to the same evaluation is prudent, but it may take the swaying of last second donations out of the equation.

Did the city by chance offer a breakdown along with the advantages of how said abatement/PILOT revenues were and will be spent?

I think we can all agree that the public schools in Jersey City are in need of help and they aren't getting it.

Helping the schools, helps our property values. I would like to not have to pay for private school for my kids, but the JC public schools are not an option. Funds need to be distributed properly, the schools need their cut, but we also need the pot holes fixed ;)

Posted on: 2009/9/22 14:07
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Re: Tax Abatement Policy Criticism Draws Council Anger
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Quote:

T-Bird wrote:
I agree that abatements have been given out far too frequently and under overly generous terms in many cases. Reform needs to happen - mostly in how PILOT dollars are distributed. But that conversation shouldn't begin until after a revaluation.


Agreed. I had always assumed the point of the PILOTS was so that JC would not have to beg the state or county for assistance to fund schools and pay for roads and whatnot. In theory, this is a great idea and should have resulted in a windfall for the city. I understand now that it does not work this way, but whose fault is that?

It is interesting that the councilman most critical of the abatements represents an area which is largely abated and that the residents who claim to get screwed by abatements keep voting in the folks who hand them out like candy.

Posted on: 2009/9/22 13:37
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Re: Tax Abatement Policy Criticism Draws Council Anger
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Yvonne,

To have an apples to apples discussion, you'd need to have the revaluation first. Saying someone pays more than 3% on a 1989 valuation and comparing that to someone paying 1.6% on a 2007 valuation is disingenuous to say the least. Yes ratables are part of the city budget. So are PILOTs. It is a line in the city budget that accounted for $88 million in the most recently published budget.

People on abatements pay a hell of a lot of taxes - I'd bet that anyone who bought in the past five years is paying a disproportionate share. The problem isn't that people on abatements are getting a free ride. The problem is that what is paid isn't being distributed equitably.

All of that said, I agree that abatements have been given out far too frequently and under overly generous terms in many cases. Reform needs to happen - mostly in how PILOT dollars are distributed. But that conversation shouldn't begin until after a revaluation.

Posted on: 2009/9/22 13:19
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Re: Tax Abatement Policy Criticism Draws Council Anger
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Quote:

icechute wrote:
Quote:
And if the Sugar House did not have an abatement it would still be an abandoned storage facility.


That's the BS part.


Elaborate.

Posted on: 2009/9/22 13:13
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Re: Tax Abatement Policy Criticism Draws Council Anger
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Quote:

Yvonne wrote:
Property taxes are over 3% and the Sugar House pays a fraction of what they should. Abatement is NOT a ratable. The county strikes the budget for JC and includes ratables as the source, nearly $3 billion is not included which means everyone taxes is higher (excluding the abated ones). Furthermore, it upsets the school funding from the state. The state bases aid on the number of "poor residents". More wealthy residents live in Jersey City which means less state aid. Since 2005, the Board of Ed taxes are increasing. The regular JC folks are penalized because of this loss aid but they don't have the income to qualitfy for places such as the Sugar House but they are obligated to pay higher taxes caused by the Sugar House.
Below is my interview with Naomi Bressler


http://videos.nj.com/2009/09/naomi_bressler.html


I heard you the first 45 times.

Posted on: 2009/9/22 13:12
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Re: Tax Abatement Policy Criticism Draws Council Anger
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Property taxes are over 3% and the Sugar House pays a fraction of what they should. Abatement is NOT a ratable. The county strikes the budget for JC and includes ratables as the source, nearly $3 billion is not included which means everyone taxes is higher (excluding the abated ones). Furthermore, it upsets the school funding from the state. The state bases aid on the number of "poor residents". More wealthy residents live in Jersey City which means less state aid. Since 2005, the Board of Ed taxes are increasing. The regular JC folks are penalized because of this loss aid but they don't have the income to qualitfy for places such as the Sugar House but they are obligated to pay higher taxes caused by the Sugar House.
Below is my interview with Naomi Bressler


http://videos.nj.com/2009/09/naomi_bressler.html

Posted on: 2009/9/22 13:10
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Re: Tax Abatement Policy Criticism Draws Council Anger
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And if the Sugar House did not have an abatement it would still be an abandoned storage facility.


That's the BS part.

Posted on: 2009/9/22 13:07
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Re: Tax Abatement Policy Criticism Draws Council Anger
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The notion that Sugar House residents are paying half of what they should or that waterfront condo owners are paying "a fraction" of what their neighbors are paying is some serious BS. Property taxes are not over 3% in Jersey City. And if the Sugar House did not have an abatement it would still be an abandoned storage facility.

I know that abatements have some serious flaws and that the schools get screwed and all that, but don't suggest that abatement-folk are getting some kind of free ride.

Posted on: 2009/9/22 12:59
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Re: Tax Abatement Policy Criticism Draws Council Anger
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Council, et al never gave Bressler a chance. Rather than engage in a thoughtful discussion around the topic, they spent considerable time questioning her qualifications to write the report and quibbling over her word choice. Even if you disagree with her conclusions, you at least owe her the courtesy of engaging her on her findings.

I dunno... maybe it was an opportunity to use her as a tool to affirm the administration's position on abatements/PILOTs. Quite a few developers' attorneys in the crowd making sure their "investments" were well represented....

Posted on: 2009/9/22 11:46
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Tax Abatement Policy Criticism Draws Council Anger
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Tempers flare as Jersey City officials debate tax abatement policy with critic

[from "The Jersey Journal," September 21, 2009, 10:42 p.m.]

According to a New Jersey think tank, Jersey City gives out more tax abatements than anywhere else in the state, robbing the city, county and schools of much needed taxes and unfairly burdening residents of non-abated properties with an unfair financial burden.

But administration official, armed with 29 pages of rebuttal, and the Jersey City City Council, got into a hot debate with the report?s co-author, Naomi Mueller Bressler of New Jersey Policy Perspective, at tonight's City Council caucus.

?We believe that tax abatements represent the most powerful economic development tool we have at our disposal,? Mayor Jerramiah Healy wrote in the introduction to the city?s rebuttal.

The NJPP report gave the example of Sugar House, a 65-unit tax-abated condominium. The report says that in 2007, condo owners there paid a total of $695,477, 95 percent of it going to Jersey City. But if they had paid conventional taxes, they would have paid more than twice that ? $1,627,108, with $746,477 going to the city.

But Jersey City Business Administrator Brian O?Reilly challenged Bressler?s calculations, wielding their own calculations on four buildings ? 101 Hudson, 10 Exchange Place, Cali-Grove Street and Harborside Plaza 2 & 3 ? that recently switched from abatements to conventional taxes. He said in those examples, the city received an average of 31 percent less under conventional taxes.

Bressler countered that even in cases where abatements benefited Jersey City, abated properties still shortchanged the county and schools, leaving residents in non-abated properties in Jersey City, as well as taxpayers across the state in the case of the schools, make up the difference.

She also made several recommendations to the city including that the city should grant abatements only in truly blighted areas, open the process of granting abatements to the public, limit the percentage of a municipality?s revenue that can come from tax abatements so that municipalities do not overly rely on this money to balance budgets, limit abatements to 10 years, bar elected officials from granting abatements to developers who have contributed to their campaigns and give county and school districts a greater share of the tax-abatement money.

City officials said in their written response that they have opened the abatement process by opening tax abatement committee meetings to the public and that the developer pay-to-play ordinance, which passed Sept. 9. The response rejected most of the remaining recommendations.

Afterward, Downtown resident Mark Smith, who owns a brownstone on Grand Street, said he was disappointed by the response to the presentation. ?People who live in luxury waterfront condos pay a fraction of what I pay and I sense there?s an inequality that needs to be addressed,? he said.

But he said it was obvious that the presentation ?pushed some buttons? for the council leading to a defensive response. ?They addressed minor issues but they didn?t seem to put much thought into the issues in the report,? he said.

-- Amy Sara Clark

Posted on: 2009/9/22 5:50
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Re: Sept. 21 City Council Caucus Meeting--Tax Abatements
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For all those who want change there is only one way to get it.......by taking Action.

I for one am surprised by the lack of attention this thread has received.

Is it because most feel it has been and will continue to be business as usual and that pay to play is here for good?

The cries for tax abatement reform have been heard for years, I am very interested to see how this plays out, as well as how the residents of JC react.

Posted on: 2009/9/21 20:25
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Re: Sept. 21 City Council Caucus Meeting--Tax Abatements
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from- http://onejerseycity.org/?p=679

Tax Abatement Positions Buttressed by Study

An unfavorable assessment of the process and use of tax abatements in Jersey City has been issued by New Jersey Policy Perspective. ?All That Glitters Isn?t Gold: Property Tax Abatements in Jersey City? comes on the heels of a Municipal Council tax abatement amendment that gives a developer experiencing slow sales of condominiums more favorable terms than originally negotiated.

Among the report?s eleven recommendations are four that were One Jersey City positions in the recent city campaign. These are

- capping tax abatement agreements at ten years
- ending the practice of extending or renewing tax abatements
- reforming redevelopment pay-to-play practices
- opening up the tax abatement process to the public

The full report may be found at http://njpp.org/dl.php?file=rpt_glitters.pdf

Posted on: 2009/9/18 12:32
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Re: Sept. 21 City Council Caucus Meeting--Tax Abatements
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Excerpt from the September 7, 2009 Tax Analysts article:
"5 Papers You Should Read"

by Dauid Brunori

"As a teacher, writer,
and citizen, I'm ahvays
looking for written works
that encourage people to
think about good tax
policy. The best and most
succinct remains the National
Conference of State
Legislatures' Principles of
a High-Quality State Reuenue
Systetn. If you've
never read it, you should.
Unfortunately, few publications measure up to that
one. But. this year there have been several reports
that are worth reading.....
Fourth, you should read New Jersey Policy Perspective's
"All That Glitters Isn't Gold: Property Tax
Abatements in Jersey CiLy," State Tax Notes, Aag.
10, 2009, p. 373, Doc 2009-16128, or 2009 STT
151-1. Propertv tax abatements have been among
politicians'favorite development tools. Full and partial
abatements are used frequently to encourage
investrnent and job creation or to reinvigorate
poorer sections of cities. Nearly every state gives
away some of its property tax base this way. The
report, by Naomi Mueller Bressler and Carolyn
Topp, examines the use of tax abatements in one
New Jersey municipality, although the issues are
the same across the state and indeed across the
country. The authors find many problems with the
abatement program, including a lack of transparency,
a lack of eligibility requirements, a lack of
public input, and a lack of oversight. In short, the
problems associated with Jersey City's abatement
program are similar to problems associated with tax
incentives in general. It is an excellent report for
explaining the details of how property tax abatements
work - and don't."

Posted on: 2009/9/9 13:50
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Re: Sept. 21 City Council Caucus Meeting--Tax Abatements
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Speak NJ did an interview with Naomi Bressler on Tax Abatements. It is currently on-line. It airs Mondays @ 10:30 PM and Tuesdays @ 9:00 PM on Comcast, channel 51 for the next several weeks.

http://videos.nj.com/2009/09/naomi_bressler.html

Posted on: 2009/9/9 13:11
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Re: New Jersey Policy Perspective Report on Tax Abatements in Jersey City
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The Sugar House wouldn't be empty, the apatments would have sold for a lower price. Of course the building also would have sold for less before it was renovated. Also, what will happen to the prices in 15 or so years when the abatement ends and the taxes more than double? The abatement has artificially inflated the selling price of the condo, enriching the developer, giving a break to the owner for a set number of years, but I wouldn't want to be an owner when the bill comes due.

Posted on: 2009/8/18 2:04
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Re: New Jersey Policy Perspective Report on Tax Abatements in Jersey City
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Three percent of market value is insane even for NJ. I feel badly if you have to pay this. But my hunch is that your rate is an outlier and that the typical non-abated rate throughout JC closer to 2% than 3%. I have read that about $45 of every $1,000 of assessed value is the actual property tax rate here, but I do not know how assessed value are calculated.

Few would live downtown if there was a 3 percent property tax rate. I still say the Sugar House would be empty at this rate.

Posted on: 2009/8/17 21:12
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Re: The NJPP Report on Tax Abatements in JC
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When I bought my home the market price was very close to the assessed value. While the value of the home has gone up, it is not by a factor of 4, given current value my payment is a shade under 3% of the actual resale value. The article estimates the taxes would be about 3% of the value of the condos, so the owners are getting a tax break of more than 50%. 5% goes to the county, 95% to the city, bupkus to the school district. Taxes go up in the city, county and school district? No problem for the abated properties, those payments remain the same. Not just to single out the Sugar House, but for the last 15+ years it is a great deal for the developers and the owners, not such a great deal for anyone else.

I don't begrudge it for people who bought or built in the late seventies through 1990 or so, but it hasn't been NEEDED since then on the waterfront. It would have been built up no matter at that point. It just became expected by the developers and was built into the land prices. I don't begrudge it for developers of some other areas of the city, as i said it can be a useful tool. But any tool can become dangerous in the wrong hands.

Posted on: 2009/8/17 20:10
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Re: The NJPP Report on Tax Abatements in JC
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Quote:

DickCheney wrote:
From what I understand, the way tax abatements work is the owner pays a reduced tax rate to the municipality. The original abatement law had all of the payments going direct to city coffers, cutting out the school district and county. After many complaints, centered around Jersey City?s overuse of abatements, which put a heavier county burden on surrounding towns, the law was changed to give the county a portion of the abated rate. It is lower then they would have gotten with regular property tax but better than zero. The school district is still cut out. This worked for the city in a few ways, there were up front payments, and at least in the beginning, the city would usually see more revenue then if they taxed the property at the normal rate. Most of the abated properties also have protections built in, so PILOTS don?t go up or go up in predictable increments.
As for the Sugar house, if they had not received abatements there would still be condos there, abet with cheaper amenities and the developer would have made a few million less.

I am a homeowner in one of the ?ghetto? areas of JC. I pay approximately 6% of the $132,000 rated value of my home in city, county and school taxes. So paying 1.3% of the value of a new construction ?luxury ? condo is extremely out of line with what the average homeowner in the city is paying, and it is being done on the backs of the people living in just about every area of JC except the waterfront.

Abatements have their place and can be an important tool for a city to use. But they should be a tool for those who are willing to gamble on an area that needs development and where the builder is taking a risk beyond a systemic economic risk. There has been no need for abatements in downtown for almost 20 years. It is however a cash cow for politicians running for office, and keeps wealthier new residents from paying too much attention to corruption, waste and the uselessness of the school system. Bump those taxes up a 2 or 3 thousand dollars a month and suddenly you might have a whole new group of people looking to clean up the city, with the resources to make life very uncomfortable for our entrenched political class.


I disagree with your assessment that new construction tax rates are out of line. At least the new construction tax rates (about 1.6%) were based on the actual market value (selling price) at that time. Six percent for homes valued from $500k to $1M would be $30-60k a year. No one is going to do that.

When you say "rated value", do you mean your assessment or is that the current market value of your home? Because 6% of your assessed value could be much less than 6% of your market value. As someone mentioned earlier on this thread, this 6% is based on a value that is about 1/3 of market value, which equates to 1.8% and is more in line with the 1.6% paid by recently abated properties.

Posted on: 2009/8/17 19:46
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