Author Topic: Tax Abatements  (Read 51041 times)

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Jersey City will share tax abatement revenue with schools
« Reply #73 on: 04-10-2017, 12:46pm »
Jersey City will share tax abatement revenue with schools
By Terrence T. McDonald | The Jersey Journal
on April 06, 2017 at 11:27 AM, updated April 06, 2017 at 5:03 PM

JERSEY CITY -- Jersey City public schools will get a portion of the revenue the city receives from long-term tax abatements under an executive order issued by Mayor Steve Fulop yesterday.

Ten percent of the annual service charges collected from long-term tax breaks -- otherwise known as payments in lieu of taxes -- will be directed to the public-school district. The executive order applies to all future market-rate residential, hotel, commercial and industrial tax abatements.

Fulop's move comes as a growing chorus of critics locally and statewide have slammed the city for not dedicating some PILOT revenue for school funding, which Fulop promised to do when he was running for mayor. Unlike normal property tax revenue, which is split between the city, county and school district, the city keeps almost all the revenue it receives from PILOT agreements, sharing a sliver with the county.

Last month a group of activists held a mock party meant to embarrass the administration about the dozens of tax abatements it has approved since Fulop took office in July 2013. Ellen Simon, a former Jersey City school board member who organized the mock party, called Fulop's executive order "promising."

"We're going to keep pushing on this," she told The Jersey Journal. "Payments from existing abated developers, now one quarter of the city's budget, will continue to shortchange our schools." Read more

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The 10 most lucrative Jersey City tax abatements
« Reply #72 on: 08-10-2015, 05:36pm »
The 10 most lucrative Jersey City tax abatements
By Terrence T. McDonald | The Jersey Journal
on August 10, 2015 at 8:00 AM, updated August 10, 2015 at 1:50 PM

JERSEY CITY — $30.6 million.

That's how much just 10 Jersey City properties with long-term tax breaks would have paid more in taxes last year if the city had billed them at the normal rate.

The figure comes from the city's user-friendly budget, a new document meant to offer taxpayers an easier way to learn how their money is spent. Overall, the document says that the city's 146 tax-abated properties would have paid about $80 million last year under normal taxation.

Ten private properties alone — six office buildings and four residential towers, all along the lucrative Waterfront — would have paid about 40 percent of that total. Portside Towers, overlooking Liberty State Park, represents the biggest disparity: the city raked in $2.4 million from Portside last year, $5.7 million less than it would have received under normal taxation.

City officials and developers have argued that the $80 million figure in the user-friendly budget is misleading. Many if not all of the projects that receive abatements wouldn't have been built without them, they argue, so the abatements bring in revenue to the city that a vacant lot would not.

Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, D-Jersey City, offered a robust defense of tax abatements to The Jersey Journal last week, noting that the projects that receive them sometimes also receive some sort of state aid.

Their "economic benefits must be proven," Mukherji said. "They're not given out willy-nilly." Read more

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Jersey City tax abatement policy unfairly benefits union workers, group says in lawsuit
By Terrence T. McDonald | The Jersey Journal
on September 02, 2014 at 11:54 AM, updated September 02, 2014 at 2:44 PM

A group representing nonunion construction workers has filed a lawsuit against Jersey City, saying the city's tax abatement policy unfairly harms construction firms that don't have unionized workers.

The 13-page suit, filed last week in federal court in Newark by the New Jersey chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC-NJ), says nonunion construction firms are "ready, willing and able" to perform work in Jersey City, but are thwarted by the city's "project labor agreements," which require developers receiving tax abatements to use union workers.

The city's PLAs are preempted by the federal National Labor Relations Act, which shows Congress intended labor-management relations "to be controlled by the free play of economic forces," ABC-NJ says in the lawsuit.

The trade group is also taking aim at the city's requirement that 20 percent of labor hours on construction projects that receive tax breaks must be performed by Jersey City workers, with some exceptions if there aren't enough of those workers available.

There is "no evidence" that the hiring of out-of-state workers on privately funded construction projects in Jersey City adversely affects the employment of otherwise qualified Jersey City residents, the lawsuit says, adding that this policy violates the privileges and immunities and the commerce clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

"Essentially, Jersey City has been saying that 'non-union contractors need not apply,' even though the vast majority of contractors in this state are in fact non-union and employ most of the construction industry workforce," ABC-NJ Vice Chairman Greg Sykora said in a statement. "Why should the market be closed to everyone but a small percentage of contractors who have union relationships?"

The lawsuit alleges that the Hudson County Building and Construction Trades Council, which represents union laborers, "was consulted and actively involved" in drafting the original 2007 measure establishing PLAs.

Asked to respond, Mayor Steve Fulop said in a statement that the city is "proud" of its PLAs, which have "put more people to work" than anywhere else in New Jersey.

"What we are doing in Jersey City is working and as a matter of fact the project labor agreements apply to projects with abatements only in exchange for the unions giving Jersey City residents a formal career structured training path," Fulop said.

Regarding ABC-NJ's claim that unions had a hand in writing the 2007 measure establishing the city's PLAs, city spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said it's common for legislation to include "feedback from stakeholders involved."

Offline Brigid

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With help from Open JC (http://openjerseycity.org), I created an interactive Google Maps tool that shows long-term abatements in Jersey City.  Thus far, the abatements focus on 10+ years approved since July 1, 2013.   

A quick overview of the tool, and a link to the tool itself, is here: http://civicparent.org/2014/04/abatementwatch-an-interactive-tool-for-jersey-city-taxpayers/

Thanks
Brigid

Offline shahaggy

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“We believe union labor builds best,” Healy said in a statement, adding the measure approved this week by the council “closes any loopholes that developers may have tried to use to circumvent” the city’s PLA regulations.


more pandering by :healy:
[04:53 PM] Soshin: I don't think I've ever had fig spread Darna but I like figs and they make my sphincter sing power ballads

[12:48 PM] Bobblehead: Yo, you know I'm really happy for you and Ima let you finish, but soshin had one of the best meercat shouts of all time

[10:23 PM] skwirrlking: you submitting darna for beards eating cupcakes - mca?

[03:24 PM] Darna: [03:22 PM] jeht'aimeu: skw, you are climbing up my pole as well... 

[02:28 PM] propscene: I DPON"T MEAN I LOVE YOU DEEP INSIDE AS MUCH AS I LOVE HIM DEEP INSIDE OH GOD

[12:58 PM] nikki: i feel like i should like the opposite of whatever jehu says

Offline jehu

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #68 on: 04-30-2012, 11:57am »
I think part of the PLA deal is that the Unions have to hire 20% locally.

I would have preferred they mandated the hiring of local workers. I think this is a bad decision.
TheFang: yeah, i gotta agree with jehu here

Darna: we had a lovely shat with mrs binky this morning

stephen: Hmm… I'm as clueless as you are.

Darna: could someone please splain to me why a person in a gang is called a gangbanger but a gangbang has nothing to do with gang activity?

shahaggy: can't believe I'm saying this but +1 jehu

[02:58 PM] MCA: it's not stalking, it's caring enough to find out things she won't tell you herself

[01:35 PM] shahaggy: fine but jehu's correct

TheFang: as much as it pains me to say, jehu might be right.

One time, I hired a monkey to take notes for me in class. I would just sit back with my mind completely blank while the monkey scribbled on little pieces of paper. At the end of the week, the teacher said, "Class, I want you to write a pape

Offline Rabelais

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #67 on: 04-30-2012, 11:53am »
I would have preferred they mandated the hiring of local workers. I think this is a bad decision.
[02:35 PM] jehu: and the only people on here who gives good advice are few.

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Jersey City Council passes measure requiring developers who receive five-year abatements to hire union workers
Published: Monday, April 30, 2012, 3:00 AM
Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

A split Jersey City City Council last week approved an ordinance requiring developers who receive five-year tax abatements to hire union workers.

The council adopted the measure six to three Wednesday over the objections of an attorney representing the owners of The Beacon, who have begun construction on three buildings in that luxury development, and who plan to seek a five-year abatement.

Eugene Paolino, the attorney for the developer, said there are a variety of problems with the measure, including that it contradicts a state statute already on the books.

Nonetheless, six council members voted to adopt the measure: David Donnelly, Steve Fulop, Rolando Lavarro, Nidia Lopez, Michele Massey and Viola Richardson. Three councilmen Peter Brennan, Bill Gaughan and Michael Sottolano voted against the measure, saying they fear lawsuits once it’s enacted.

The ordinance compels developers who seek five-year abatements to adhere to the city’s project labor agreements (PLA), pre-set labor pacts that guarantee developers hire only union workers. The PLAs also require unions to hand over at least 20 percent of labor hours to apprentices that live in Jersey City.

Previously, PLAs applied only to developments with long-term tax deals, which typically extend for 20 or 30 years.

Mayor Jerramiah Healy supported the measure, saying last week that developers have been skirting the PLA requirement by applying for five-year abatements instead of more long-term tax deals.

“We believe union labor builds best,” Healy said in a statement, adding the measure approved this week by the council “closes any loopholes that developers may have tried to use to circumvent” the city’s PLA regulations.

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$120 million in taxes goes uncollected due to abatements pols grant so freely
Published: Wednesday, September 15, 2010, 6:30 AM
The Jersey Journal
Morgan's Corner

Part 2 of 2

In the face of all the boasting of Jersey City officials about waterfront development and how the municipality is the economic engine of the state, why did property taxes increase this year by 11 percent?

Why hasn't all the new construction translated into a bonanza of tax ratables instead of leaving the city with a $80 million budget deficit?

For that matter, why, with all the new development, was it necessary for the state to give Jersey City $14 million last year in "special municipal aid."

A report released last month from the Office of State Comptroller Matthew Boxer may offer a partial answer to these questions. The report says Jersey City currently exempts $2 billion in property value through tax abatements. "In view of the city's general tax rate of $6-per-$100 of assessed valuation, Jersey City is not collecting approximately $120 million in taxes on exempted properties," the reports says.

The comptroller's report corroborates a study done last year by the nonprofit think tank New Jersey Policy Perspectives that enumerates many of the same issues with the state's long-term abatement law and Jersey City's procedures for awarding these tax breaks.

The NJPP listed nine areas of concern it found in Jersey City -- everything from failing to supply the public with adequate information about the awarding of abatements, to excluding residents from the process, to the issue of developers that receive abatements making campaign contributions to officials who green light their tax breaks. NJPP also makes mention of the minimal number of city residents working on abated projects "despite the requirement that abatement recipients make a good faith effort to hire them."

The comptroller agrees with most of the points raised by NJPP, including a finding that the payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTS) paid by tax-abated developments distort "municipal incentives in using and structuring abatements at the expense of counties, school districts and other taxpayers."

In other words, the municipality shares little or none of the PILOT money with the county, its school district, or even other, non-abated residential and commercial taxpayers.

"Tax abatements should be used carefully and sparingly given the multitude of pitfalls, their far reaching impact, and the reality the exemption from taxation is a departure from the normal allocation of tax obligations," the comptroller's report says. Amen to that.

To its credit, Jersey City has taken some steps to make the process more transparent. Meetings of the "Tax Enhancement Committee" that awards abatements have been opened to the public.

All in all, the most salient factor in the state report is the $120 million in uncollected taxes.

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Tight circle governs city's abatements -- and they only listen to themselves: Morgan
Published: Wednesday, September 08, 2010, 6:02 AM
Earl Morgan/For The Jersey Journal
Part one of two-part series

Naomi Bressler, a policy analyst with the think tank New Jersey Policy Perspectives, may have thought that the purpose of an invitation to address the Jersey City council at a caucus meeting last year on Sept. 21 was to discuss the findings and recommendations of her agency on the matter of awarding tax abatements.

Instead, she was bushwhacked by city officials who went into attack mode almost as soon as she opened her mouth.

Then-Business Administrator Brian O'Reilly, Assistant Corporation Counsel Joanne Monahan and several council members pounced on Bressler. They afforded her little opportunity to discuss NJPP's findings -- the thrust of which is the city is handing out abatements in areas that are far from blighted and in the process is losing millions of potential tax dollars for schools and county government.

City government holds on to 95 percent of the "payment in lieu of taxes" charged developers when they are given abatements.

But despite the council's brusque treatment of Bressler, another report on abatements issued last month by the state not only bolsters NJPP's conclusions but claims Jersey City is losing out on collecting nearly $120 million in property taxes from abated properties. That certainly should be food for thought in a city faced with a reputed $80 million budget deficit.

While Downtown Councilman Steve Fulop indicated his desire to discuss the policy implications of the NJPP report, some of his colleagues hammered Bressler on its recommendations and critiques.

Even after Bressler left, Deputy Mayor Rosemary McFadden continued the assault, branding NJPP a gaggle of right-wingers opposed to all government subsidies and promising to issue a PowerPoint refutation of the think tank's report. The consensus among city officials seemed to be that Bressler's organization doesn't have a clue.

Perhaps most alarmingly to city officials, the NJPP report included a recommendation that developers who receive abatements be prohibited from contributing to the campaigns of elected officials.

While Jersey City isn't the only municipality awarding tax abatements, it hands them out quite liberally and its elected officials have, over the years, received millions in campaign donations from developers, especially the ones building on the city's so-called "Gold Coast."

What I've seen over the years is a small group of players tend to dominate the terrain.

In what could be interpreted as a move to inject an element of transparency in the procedure for awarding abatements, former Jersey City Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham pushed through an ordinance requiring lobbyists for developers to be listed with the City Clerk's Office.

A perusal of the list reveals the law firm of triple threat priest/lawyer/developer Francis Schiller, a longtime player in local politics, represents nearly all but a handful of the developers operating in the city. Before Schiller, the politically connected attorney Brian Doherty, now deceased, who was also husband of the aforementioned Rosemary McFadden, was the go-to lawyer for the developers.

The NJPP report further recommended limiting abatements to a maximum of 10 years. Currently in Jersey City, abatements can stretch for 20, 30, even 40 years.

About the $120 million in uncollected property taxes and several other matters mentioned in that state comptroller's report -- to be continued.
« Last Edit: 09-15-2010, 12:37pm by MCA »

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State report criticizes tax abatements, cites deals in Bayonne, Hoboken, Jersey City
Published: Wednesday, August 18, 2010, 5:55 PM
Updated: Wednesday, August 18, 2010, 6:04 PM
Melissa Hayes/The Jersey Journal

Tax abatements have become a method for municipalities generate revenue and compete for development, according to a report released by the state Comptroller’s Office today. The 30-page report, which calls for reforms of the state law allowing the tax breaks, notes “significant use” of abatements in Bayonne, Harrison, Hoboken, Jersey City and Union City.

Abatements were meant to spur development in blighted areas, like those deals given to The LeFrak Organization who built Newport along the dilapidated Jersey City waterfront in the 1970s and 1980s, and has plans to expand the development. But the city’s waterfront, now flush with high rise buildings, is still designated as “in need of redevelopment,” allowing for the continued use of abatements.

According to the report, “standards concerning these designations seem to be loosely applied and rarely reviewed.” The report also notes that short-term abatements have been granted to development that are already completed.

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy defended the city’s use of abatements saying it has helped the city become “the economic engine of the state.” “As we continue to compete with places like New York City and Brooklyn to attract high profile companies to our city, we will continue to judiciously use tax abatements to foster growth and jobs in our city,” Healy said in a statement.

But state Comptroller A. Matthew Boxer said abatements take tax dollars away from school districts and counties, displacing the tax burden. For example, Bayonne granted an abatement to a power station in November that would give the city 95 percent of $45 million in payments in lieu of taxes over 30 years. The municipality would have collected $27 million in traditional taxes during that period. The county will get 5 percent of the abatement and the school district gets nothing.

“When the entity in charge of deciding who receives a tax break knows it will profit from its decision regardless of its merits, that’s a recipe for poor decision-making,” Boxer said in a statement. “Abatements should be granted only when the public at large will come out the winner.”

In a letter to Boxer’s office, Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith argues that the project is a win for taxpayers because it will generate revenue for the Municipal Utilities Authority and it would not impact the school district or county services. “I believe that your analysis of abatements may miss the mark if you focus on the benefits to a public body with or without the abatement,” he wrote.

According to the report, Jersey City exempts about $2 billion of property value and as a result doesn’t collect about $120 million in taxes on those properties. According to county tax records, in 2009 Hudson County received about 25 percent of the taxes collected in Jersey City. While the county still receives 5 percent of the funds collected under abatements, the does not amount to the $30 million it would collect in taxes, the report states.

The report notes that abatements can make school districts rely more on state aid. For example, Hoboken received $8.73 million in state aid and is slated to get $6.9 million in 2010-11, a decrease of $1.74 million, according to the report. But if not for abatements on properties valued at $298 million, the district would get $3.51 million in taxes, more than double its cut in aid, the report states.

Recommendations
Sen. Michael Doherty, R-23rd of Warren County, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee has asked the state Office of Legislative Services to draft legislation that would address Boxer’s concerns. The report recommends the restructuring of payments under abatements. Under the law, municipalities receive 95 percent of the payment in lieu of taxes, counties 5 percent and school district receive nothing.

The report calls for county government to be more involved in granting abatements better manage tax impacts and prevent one municipality from “poaching” a developer from another. The report also calls for school districts and tax-payers to be move involved in the process and for greater transparency and review of abatements. It also says abatement terms should be no longer than necessary to attract development and “should be strictly limited to areas that are truly in need of rehabilitation or redevelopment.”

The report recommends the state should have an increased role in monitoring tax abatement practices.

Offline nugnfutz

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #62 on: 09-23-2009, 12:50am »
PPS:
Thefang: Don't like it? Go live somewhere else.

Woodsy: PS: If you want to debate this more PM me and I will be happy to spin this off into a new thread.  I don't want the Tax Abatement thread to get too far off topic.

........
Ok.
Can you tell me why i need to pay for the education of Newport kids? That was my point. Don't give me the redneck go live somewhere else script.

Offline nugnfutz

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #61 on: 09-22-2009, 06:38pm »
I'd also say, I don't want kids and I can't have kids. Why should I have to pay to raise and educate other ppls sproglets?

Believe me, no one is against the idea of having spawn more then I am. But you live in a community and that's how things are done. We look after and take care of those that can't take care of themselves (children, the poor, the uninsured, etc) because it's for the good of the community as a whole. Don't like it? Go live somewhere else.

My bad - my quote was a little out of context and badly worded. I was referring to the sproglet's parents living at abated properties, that NJPP imply are short-changing the county/schools. I don't want to pick up their tab.

Online MÇA

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Abatement critic heard council mostly unmoved
« Reply #60 on: 09-22-2009, 08:05am »
Abatement critic heard council mostly unmoved
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
By AMY SARA CLARK
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

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.

An administration official, who came armed with 29 pages of rebuttal, and the Jersey City City Council got into a heated debate last night with the report's co-author, Naomi Mueller Bressler of New Jersey Policy Perspective.

The NJPP report cited the example of the tax-abated Sugar House, where in 2007 condo owners paid a total of $695,477, but under conventional taxes would have paid more than twice that - $1,627,108, with $746,477 going to the city and the rest going to schools and the county.

But Jersey City Business Administrator Brian O'Reilly challenged Bressler's calculations, wielding his own figures on four buildings 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.

She also made several recommendations to the city, including that the city should limit the percentage of a municipality's revenue that can come from tax abatements, 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 payments made in lieu of taxes.

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.
« Last Edit: 09-22-2009, 08:08am by MCA »

Offline Case

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #59 on: 08-18-2009, 12:18pm »
I looked at a few Sugar House tax bills on the tax rolls too. They are hard to figure out. Some big $6K payments and a lot of little $150 payments.

My guess is that the big payments are the twice-a-year abated taxes on the condo. The little payments are the four-times-a-year unabated real estate tax on a prorated share of the land.

Offline TheFang

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #58 on: 08-18-2009, 11:30am »
I'd also say, I don't want kids and I can't have kids. Why should I have to pay to raise and educate other ppls sproglets?

Believe me, no one is against the idea of having spawn more then I am. But you live in a community and that's how things are done. We look after and take care of those that can't take care of themselves (children, the poor, the uninsured, etc) because it's for the good of the community as a whole. Don't like it? Go live somewhere else.
"I can't help it, I'm a greedy slob. It's my hobby." -- D.D.

Offline fasteddie

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #57 on: 08-18-2009, 09:44am »
I looked at a few Sugar House tax bills on the tax rolls too. They are hard to figure out. Some big $6K payments and a lot of little $150 payments. I didn't bother to add them up but the few I looked at seemed to be over $12K. Anyway, I just checked my tax records. They have risen 42.6% in the last 10 years. Can I rely on that trend to continue? I dunno but I do know that a 30 year abated property will not have to worry about that kind of increase.

Offline Woodsy

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #56 on: 08-18-2009, 09:08am »
i got to agree with the jclister on the math. If the average apt value = $800k, then the total regular tax obligation = 65 (apts) * 11k. That means $715k total, and not $1,627,108. Am I missing something?

I'd also say, I don't want kids and I can't have kids. Why should I have to pay to raise and educate other ppls sproglets?

I think the math must be off too.  I can't imagine that even an $800k condo would pay on average $25k a year in combined property taxes.  Nevertheless, having looked at a lot of what people in the Sugar House are paying, most are paying substantially less than I am and my place certainly cost less than the average price of a Sugar House condo.

1) It's cheaper for you to pay for the school system than it is for you to pay to pay for prisons.  2) The tax dollars you spend to educate a populace are more than made up by the taxes they will then pay into the system (i.e. an educated person makes more money and pays more taxes than an uneducated person). 3) Businesses and individuals benefit by having an educated populace.  An educated populace produces a bigger market which helps business.  An educated populace also helps individuals by offering increased services.  Government benefits from having an increased tax base.

Education is just an investment by the government in the labor pool.  It's more similar to government funding of the interstate highway system, an investment in land to promote the free flow of commerce, than it is a social program.  Could public education be improved in this country?  Absolutely, but that is more of a policy issue than a taxation issue.  

Even if you didn't have to pay school taxes you'd still pay somehow.  Doctors and lawyers are expensive because the initial costs to get such a degree are high (both in time and money); likewise college educated people on average make substantially more than high school graduates who make substantially more than high school dropouts.  Those higher wages are paid by the consumers of the worker's goods and services.  If society did not pay to provide a primary education then the costs of said education would be passed on to consumers via the increased costs of labor.  Paying for public education via taxes as opposed to paying for private education via increased consumption costs merely removes the hurdle (tuition) to getting an education thereby leading to increased social and economic benefits (discussed supra) beyond those which would occur if only some of the populace were educated.

PS: This is coming from someone likely to have kids but who will almost certainly NOT be sending them to a public school. There are a lot of unfair things about taxation in this country/state; far far at the bottom of my list is paying for public education (even though I will aslo be paying for private education for my own kids).

PPS: If you want to debate this more PM me and I will be happy to spin this off into a new thread.  I don't want the Tax Abatement thread to get too far off topic.

Online CeeDub

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #55 on: 08-18-2009, 08:14am »
i got to agree with the jclister on the math. If the average apt value = $800k, then the total regular tax obligation = 65 (apts) * 11k. That means $715k total, and not $1,627,108. Am I missing something?

I'd also say, I don't want kids and I can't have kids. Why should I have to pay to raise and educate other ppls sproglets?
If you don't want, fine; can't, I'm sorry, - but there's always adoption - unless you can't adopt?
If you don't understand the benefit of raising the next generation who will perpetuate and advance humankind, maybe you shouldn't be allow to have kids!

Offline nugnfutz

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #54 on: 08-18-2009, 01:38am »
i got to agree with the jclister on the math. If the average apt value = $800k, then the total regular tax obligation = 65 (apts) * 11k. That means $715k total, and not $1,627,108. Am I missing something?

I'd also say, I don't want kids and I can't have kids. Why should I have to pay to raise and educate other ppls sproglets?

Online MÇA

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Watchdog group blasts Jersey City for tax abatement 'giveaways'
« Reply #53 on: 08-17-2009, 07:17am »
Watchdog group blasts Jersey City for tax abatement 'giveaways'
by Amy Sara Clark/The Jersey Journal
Sunday August 16, 2009, 2:18 PM

Jersey City's liberal use of tax abatements has robbed the city, county and school district of revenue and has saddled residents not living in tax-abated properties with an unfair financial burden, according to a New Jersey watchdog group.

"We're really concerned about the precedent Jersey City is setting," said Naomi Mueller Bressler, co-author of the report released by the New Jersey Policy Perspective last month.

Initially used to give developers an incentive to build in hard-pressed areas, these "tax giveaways" are now handed to "any or all developers," Bressler added.

City officials have traditionally argued abatements are good for the city since the municipality keeps 95 percent of the money, as opposed to a more even split with the county and schools under the rules of conventional taxation. But this report argues the city is also getting hosed in tax abatement deals.

For example, Sugar House, a 65-unit condominium building located 174 Washington St., received a 20-year tax abatement from Jersey City in 1999. In 2007, the owners of the building paid a total of $695,477 to Jersey City.

But if they had paid conventional taxes, they would have paid more than twice that -- $1,627,108. This city would have collected $746,845, the county $413,741 and the Jersey City School District $455,965, according to the report.

And when county and state officials calculate how much money city residents have to kick in to pay for county services and to support local schools, tax-abated property owners aren't included -- putting an additional burden on conventional taxpayers, the reports argues.

There are currently 134 tax-abated properties in Jersey City and 31 more under construction. But with the economy in the dumps, several developers have re-negotiated even sweeter deals with the city, including the CANCO Lofts on Dey Street and Crystal Point, Downtown on Second Street. The city is also considering changing the terms of its 20-year abatement agreement with the owners of 77 Hudson.

The report argues that politicians have become addicted to abatements because "pre-payments" are used to fill budget holes and developers contribute heavily to political campaigns.

The report concedes tax abatements, most of which last 15 to 30 years, can help spur development in parts of the city beyond the waterfront, including Journal Square.

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy -- who campaigned against tax abatements when he first ran for mayor but has become an ardent supporter -- said the watchdog group has blinders on.

"It is astonishing that this report -- which provides no empirical data or quantitative analysis -- does not recognize Jersey City as a model for the judicious use of tax abatements which have dramatically increased property values, led to the creation of thousands of units of affordable housing and thousands of construction and permanent jobs, as well as increased investment and funds into our city coffers," he said in a statement.

"Indeed, Jersey City has been referred to in national publications as a model for urban redevelopment and advancement," he added.

The report makes several recommendations, including:
* Only grant abatements in truly blighted areas
* Open to process of granting abatements to the public
* Limit the percentage of a municipality's revenue that can come from tax abatements so that municipalities don't overly rely on this money to balance budgets
* Limiting abatements to 10 years
* Bar elected officials from granting abatements to developers who have contributed to their campaigns
* Give county and school districts a greater share of the tax-abatement money.

The council is currently considering a redeveloper pay-to-play ordinance that would bar campaign contributions from a developer to local officials if that developer is negotiating to be designated the builder of a project in the city.

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All That Glitters Isn't Gold
Property Tax Abatements in Jersey City

by Naomi Mueller Bressler and Carolyn Topp





From NewJerseyNewsroom.com:

Study finds tax abatements for developers leave property owners paying more taxes
Wednesday, 15 July 2009 17:31
 
New Jersey's long-term tax abatement law has flaws that prevent it from being used as intended, according to findings in a new New Jersey Policy Perspective report made public Wednesday. The report finds a need for strict state oversight, enforcement and standards to ensure that decisions to grant tax abatements are necessary and benefit all taxpayers.

Originally intended to lure skeptical developers to invest in areas where they might otherwise not build, abatements are now used in the most desirable areas, according to the report. The report finds the use of abatements to lure development has serious consequences for the municipalities that grant them, as well as for the counties and school districts that receive little or no money from them.

The report, "All That Glitters Isn't Gold: Property Tax Abatements in Jersey City,'' was written by NJPP policy analyst Naomi M. Bressler and Carolyn Topp, a senior executive for a national Internet catalogue retailer.

The report specifically focuses on Jersey City, which has awarded countless long-term tax abatements to developers building on its "Gold Coast'' waterfront. Once home to rundown factories, abandoned rail yards and rotting piers, Jersey City's waterfront is now lined with luxury condominiums and office buildings of some of the country's largest financial firms. Although abatements may have helped spur development along the waterfront in the late 1970s and 1980s, they are likely no longer necessary, the report states. However, the city's dependence on them continues to grow. In 1990, the city collected $6.6 million, less than 3 percent of its budget from abatement projects; in 2008, it received $80 million, or 17 percent of its budget. The city expects to receive $89 million this year. Hudson County receives only a fraction of this money and the city's schools receive none of it.

"Jersey City's decision to allow developers to pay less than their fair share of taxes is unfair to everyone who hasn't received an abatement," Bressler said. "The city's policy takes the risk away from developers and places it on the backs of the owners of non-abated properties in the city, county and state."

Although Jersey City gives out more tax abatements than most other municipalities in the state, it is far from the only municipality to use them. Tax abatements are given to companies throughout New Jersey, as well as throughout the country, who say that without them, their projects would be unsuccessful and that they would locate elsewhere. This ignores two significant factors, the report states. First, as is the case in Jersey City, compelling advantages often exist that have nothing to do with taxes. Second, taxes make up only a small portion of a company's cost of doing business.

The report identifies nine problems with the state's long-term abatement law and Jersey City's abatement policies. They are:

• Vague definitions provide overly broad discretion to municipalities.
• The public does not have enough time to challenge abatements and is excluded from negotiations between the municipality and developer regarding the abatement.
• New Jersey law does not limit the number of abatements a municipality can grant or the amount of a municipality's revenue that can come from them.
• Municipalities are not required to audit abated properties for compliance with the abatement agreement.
• The justification used by governing bodies in awarding tax abatements is often lacking.
• Many of the developers who receive abatements make political contributions to the officia ls who granted those abatements.
• Despite the availability of some abatement-related information online, abatement information in Jersey City is not well maintained or readily available.
• Only a small percentage of the people working on abated projects are Jersey City residents, despite the requirement that abatement recipients make a "good faith effort" to hire city residents.
• On at least two occasions, the Jersey City City Council amended an existing long-term tax abatement agreement after it was asked to do so by the developer.

The report finds these issues are even more glaring since there is no conclusive evidence that tax abatements work. Many economists believe that although abatements may help companies decide where to locate within a specific area, they do not play a role in their decision to choose one metropolitan area over another. And, even if it did, it is difficult to determine if the benefit - a small increase in the tax base and the possibility of new jobs - outweighs the cost of providing municipal services to the new residents and businesses.

In addition to identifying shortcomings with the law, the report makes 11 recommendations NJPP believes would turn a program that benefits developers into one that targets abatements to projects that would benefit the municipality and its residents.

The recommendations are:

• Amend the long-term abatement law so abatements can only be granted in "blighted areas" where development would otherwise not take place.
• Require that abatement negotiations between a municipality and a developer be made public when they begin.
• Limit the percent of a municipality's revenue that can come from abatements so that municipalities do not rely on tax abatements to balance their budgets.
• Municipalities should be required to continuously evaluate their tax abatement policy to determine if it benefits its residents.
• Prohibit developers from receiving both a tax credit and other incentives from the state and an abatement from the municipality.
• Grant abatements for no longer than 10 years and phase out the amount of the abatement as the property is transferred from the first owner of a condominium or office building to later ones.
• Require state review and approval of all property tax abatements over a certain value.
• Make available online information regarding tax abatements including ordinances, agreements and compliance reports.
• Bar elected officials from granting abatements to developers who have contributed to their campaigns.
• Provide the county with a greater share of the money from abatement agreements. School districts should also receive a proportionate share of the money.
• Set financial penalties for developers who fail to hire local residents for at least half of the jobs on a project.

— TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

Offline thebes

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All That Glitters Isn't Gold
Property Tax Abatements in Jersey City

by Naomi Mueller Bressler and Carolyn Topp

Across the country, governing bodies often use property tax abatements to attract businesses and jobs to their area. Intended for rundown or otherwise unattractive areas, questions arise: Has their original purpose been subverted as they have proliferated in areas no longer in need of assistance? Does the new development add enough property tax ratables to themunicipal tax base to make up for 20 to 30 years of abated property taxes? Are owners of non-abated property in the municipality on the hook for taxes not paid by owners of abated property? Ultimately what is the impact on the municipality itself, neighboringmunicipalities, school districts, counties and the state?

Jersey City is an excellent case study of long-term tax abatements. Some of the first abatements granted in New Jersey were in Jersey City. Its governing body – regardless of political persuasion – has been enthusiastic about them and has granted nearly all proposed. This report identifies nine problems with New Jersey's long-term tax abatement law and Jersey City's abatement policies and makes recommendations for how to resolve these problems.

Download the report here.
« Last Edit: 07-15-2009, 09:41pm by MCA »
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Offline nugnfutz

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #50 on: 06-21-2009, 11:49pm »
As I understand it, a vote for the developer is a vote for people who pay property tax (directly or indirectly through rent) to subsidise the developer.

I pay enough taxes. I don't give a monkey's-ass whether the developer makes a loss and goes under - isn't that why they take the risk and potential reward? They go bankrupt - someone else buys out the assets and assumes the obligations. Whoever takes over the debt, still has to pay the City - the City isn't a regular creditor. Why does the City even care about these creeps?

What I do understand is that fwits on the council want to load me and everyone else property owner and renter that pays proprty tax for these developers raping us.
 

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #49 on: 06-19-2009, 11:26am »
Yeah well just wait for the reval...

>:(

The last time they did a reval in my neighborhood, it was done much like a drive by shooting.... ::)
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Offline bdlaw

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #48 on: 06-18-2009, 07:21pm »
Yeah well just wait for the reval...

>:(
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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #47 on: 06-18-2009, 05:04pm »
+1 woodsy and f%$* the 6 that voted for it, sell outs!

Remember the 6 sell outs who voted for the regular man to help pay for the developer's bills. Do they feel that its bad for the city if we have OUR houses sitting vacant and boarded up because things went poorly for us?  NO THEY DON'T!!  Next election lets hope more than 20% of Jersey City voters get their tired behinds out there and VOTE these people out! >:(
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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #46 on: 06-18-2009, 11:04am »
+1 woodsy and f%$* the 6 that voted for it, sell outs!
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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #45 on: 06-18-2009, 08:03am »
"Fisher is asking to extend the length of the PILOT, or Payments in Lieu of Taxes, agreement from 20 to 30 years and reduce the percentage of annual gross revenue paid from 16 to 11 percent for the first five years, with 13 percent payments for the next five years, and 16 percent payments for the final 20 years."

Dumb question: What is meant by "annual gross revenue" in cases like this where units are sold not rented? How does this work? Does this mean 11% of total sale proceeds for the year? So, if you don't sell any units your payment is $0?

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #44 on: 06-18-2009, 07:32am »
Quote
Council members Phil Kenny, Steve Fulop and Viola Richardson voted against the ordinance.

Thank you all for standing up for the residents of your wards who are now being forced to shoulder more of the county and school taxes as a result of this passing.  Shame on the rest of the council. 

Quote
"I've heard the same argument for 16 years, abatements are bad, abatements are bad, abatements are bad," said Ward D Councilman Bill Gaughan. "To me an abatement is a tool. It's a tool to move our city forward."

Yes it's a tool.  A tool to encourage development.  The property is already developed.  How does sweetening the pot now, after the development has already occurred, further this end?  Oh yeah I forgot, it's also a tool to give handouts to developers who in turn give you campaign contributions.  ::)  Way to stick it to the residents of your ward for your own personal gain Bill Gaughan.  :flipoff:

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #43 on: 06-18-2009, 07:25am »
JJ:

Jersey City Municipal Council approves a sweeter tax abatement for luxury waterfront condo developer
by Amy Sara Clark
The Jersey Journal
Thursday June 18, 2009, 12:20 AM

By a vote of 6-3, the Jersey City Municipal Council sweetened the PILOT agreement a luxury condo tower on the Jersey City waterfront.

Council members Phil Kenny, Steve Fulop and Viola Richardson voted against the ordinance.

Fisher Development Associates, the developer of Crystal Point, located at 2 Second St., requested the revised deal due to slow sales.

The developer of the 42-story Crystal Point says only 24 of the eventual 269 condos have sold since going on the market a few months ago -- despite a 30 percent price reduction.

Fisher is asking to extend the length of the PILOT, or Payments in Lieu of Taxes, agreement from 20 to 30 years and reduce the percentage of annual gross revenue paid from 16 to 11 percent for the first five years, with 13 percent payments for the next five years, and 16 percent payments for the final 20 years.

Jersey City's Tax Abatement Committee recommended approval, despite a memo against it from Al Cameron, deputy director of the city's Department of Housing, Economic Development and Commerce, arguing that the change would cost the city millions of dollars.

Nearly two dozen people spoke against the abatement (none spoke for it) -- including Dan Levin, Norrice Raymaker, Andrew Hubsch and Rolando Lavarro, who all ran unsuccessfully in last month's municipal election -- saying it sets a dangerous precedence, was "an arbitrary handout" and just doesn't make sense.

"The game of real estate is like a game of poker," said resident Sebastian Bernheim. "Times are tough for all of us. The citizens of Jersey City should not be forced to bail out a gambler."

"I don't get it," said resident Meg Cohen. "All other major cities that have these kinds of views, they don't give these kinds of tax abatements on these kinds of properties. If you vote for this, I'm just flabbergasted."

But several of those voting for it defended their decision, saying the city won't get any taxes from units that remain empty.

"I've heard the same argument for 16 years, abatements are bad, abatements are bad, abatements are bad," said Ward D Councilman Bill Gaughan. "To me an abatement is a tool. It's a tool to move our city forward."

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Council to vote on developer's request to reduce payments
« Reply #42 on: 06-17-2009, 07:27am »
JJ:



Council to vote on developer's request to reduce payments
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
By AMY SARA CLARK
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

The Jersey City Council is set to vote tonight on whether the developer of a luxury condo tower on the Jersey City waterfront can revise its PILOT agreement with the city due to slow sales.

According to James C. McCann, an attorney for Fisher Development Associates, the developer of Crystal Point, who came to Monday's City Council caucus to defend the request, only 24 of the eventual 269 condos have sold since going on the market a few months ago - despite a 30 percent price reduction. The 42-story building is located at 2 Second St.

Fisher is asking to extend the length of the PILOT, or Payments in Lieu of Taxes, agreement from 20 to 30 years and reduce the percentage of annual gross revenue paid from 16 to 11 percent for the first five years, with 13 percent payments for the next five years, and 16 percent payments for the final 20 years.

Jersey City's Tax Abatement Committee recommended approval, despite a memo against it from Al Cameron, deputy director of the city's Department of Housing, Economic Development and Commerce, arguing that the change would cost the city millions of dollars.

At Monday's caucus, Downtown Councilman Steve Fulop argued that the risk taken by the developer should not be shifted to the "backs of taxpayers" and that the building will sell if prices are lowered far enough. He also said that if the council gives Crystal Point a break due to the economy, every development project in the city will ask for the same.

"I would urge you all to consider that this would be a very dangerous precedence," he said.

Greenville Councilman Michael Sottolano and City Council President Mariano Vega, who serves on the Tax Abatement Committee, argued that if the project doesn't go forward it could affect the value of a city-owned site directly across from it.

"We know that the economy is not very strong right now and we want to continue growing the development in our city," Vega said in an interview yesterday.

Fulop has the backing of the New Jersey Policy Perspective, a think tank that is due to release a study on Jersey City's tax abatement policy next month.

"We're really concerned about the precedent Jersey City is setting," said Naomi Bressler, a policy analyst at NNPP who worked on the study. She said Jersey City's policy seems to be "a tax giveaway" for "any or all developers."

Offline Isilme

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #41 on: 06-02-2009, 01:38pm »
Wow, another unfortunate developer down on his luck!  But not to worry, thanks to more nice reworked PILOTs, the rest of us little guys who pay taxes that include schools and Hudson County rates, can prop him up during his hard times.  And if we have hard times...oh yeah, tough luck, we should have spent our money more carefully.  Thanks Mr. Vega! >:(
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But City Council President Mariano Vega argued in favor of the ordinance, saying that if Jersey City has one development project fails "it will have a ripple effect on the rest of the city."

"I don't need an empty development on the waterfront or anywhere in Jersey City," he said.

Thank god somebody is standing up for the downtrodden developers!  Mariano Vega, two thumbs way, WAY up for you!!

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Jersey City Council mulls new PILOT deal for waterfront developer
by Amy Sara Clark / The Jersey Journal
Monday June 01, 2009, 11:55 PM

Claiming slow sales, the developer of a luxury condo tower on the Jersey City waterfront is asking to revise its PILOT agreement with the city.

"The developer is really losing his shirt," said James C. McCann, an attorney for the Fisher Development Associates. "This is a question of survival or failure."

The development, called Crystal Point, is located at 2 Second Street, right on the waterfront.

According to McCann, who came to tonight's City Council caucus to defend the request, only 24 of the 42-story tower's eventual 269 condos have sold since they went on the market a few months ago, despite a price drop of 30 percent. The last two units were sold below cost, he said.

Fisher is asking to extend the length of the PILOT, or Payments in Lieu of Taxes, agreement from 20 to 30 years and reduce the percentage of annual gross revenue paid from 16 percent to 10 percent for the first five years and to 12 percent for the next five years. The developer will pay the full 16 percent in the final two decades of the agreement.

Jersey City's Tax Abatement Committee recommended giving the OK, despite a memo arguing against the change from Al Cameron, deputy director of the city's Department of Housing, Economic Development and Commerce.

Cameron estimated that the deal could cost the city almost $20 million over the next 30 years, but McCann disputes those calculations, arguing that the city will get more from abatements in the final decade of the extended contract than it would from conventional taxes. (Neither side can be proven right, since it is not possible to know for sure what the building would bring in conventional taxes 20 years from now.)

McCann said lowering the PILOT payments for the first 10 years will help fill the units, which can only be beneficial to the city.

"If the units don't sell there's not going to be any revenue to the city," he said.

Ward E Councilman Steven Fulop argued vehemently against allowing the change, saying that if the break is granted to this building, every other developer in the city would soon be asking for a revised deal.

"This is a dangerous slippery slope we're going down," he said.

He added that if the city is going to start granting better tax rates due to slow sales, why shouldn't all homeowners trying to sell get the same deal?

"There are nearly 2,000 apartments for sale in Jersey City. To me there is no difference between (Crystal Pointe) and the person who is looking to sell on Mercer Street and is struggling to sell because of high taxes," he said.

But City Council President Mariano Vega argued in favor of the ordinance, saying that if Jersey City has one development project fails "it will have a ripple effect on the rest of the city."

"I don't need an empty development on the waterfront or anywhere in Jersey City," he said.

The ordinance proposing the change will be introduced at Wednesday night's City Council meeting.

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Re: Hoboken Council: Get more info before tax abatements
« Reply #38 on: 04-20-2009, 10:22am »
"This is really a sea change in our approach to PILOTs," Zimmer said, using the shorthand for the concept known as payment in lieu of taxes. "We've always taken the approach that PILOTs are a good thing for the taxpayer. But what if they're not?"

Slightly better than asking this question after the fact is asking the question before PILOTs became a standard.

"The way we have done PILOTs has contributed to our financial crisis," Zimmer said. "When taxes go up, everyone outside the tax-abated area has to pay the price."

Is this true?  My understanding is that PILOTs were on a percentage basis and not fixed rate....

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Hoboken Council: Get more info before tax abatements
« Reply #37 on: 04-20-2009, 06:47am »
JJ:



Council: Get more info before tax abatements
Monday, April 20, 2009
By CARLY BALDWIN
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

HOBOKEN - The City Council has unanimously approved a resolution that will give the city more information before Hoboken hands out tax abatements.

The resolution, sponsored by Councilwoman Dawn Zimmer, requires that the city's finance director do a comparative financial analysis for all developments seeking tax abatements.

The analysis would compare a tax-abated property with how much they would pay under normal taxation, and whether the abatement would benefit other taxpayers.


"This is really a sea change in our approach to PILOTs," Zimmer said, using the shorthand for the concept known as payment in lieu of taxes. "We've always taken the approach that PILOTs are a good thing for the taxpayer. But what if they're not?"

Several properties in Hoboken are tax-abated, including 1100 Adams St., 800 Jackson St., and 1200 and 1300 Grand Streets.

The comparison would be made available to the council and public 30 days before the vote. The resolution also mandates that if those payments are projected to be less than what would be collected normally, the developer would have to show some sort of give-back to the city, such as a public park.

"The way we have done PILOTs has contributed to our financial crisis," Zimmer said. "When taxes go up, everyone outside the tax-abated area has to pay the price."

Fred Bado, the city's community development director, said he routinely does comparative analyses for tax abatements, but he was not formally required to.

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #36 on: 03-22-2008, 10:56am »
What the state giveth, the state taketh away.

When you take money you become beholden.  Why would the city want to take money from the state?
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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #35 on: 03-22-2008, 10:12am »
On Jan. 23, 2008 Councilman Fulop voted in favor of introducing ordinance #08-11 a 20 year tax abatement for a market rate residential condominium project to be constructed by the Warren and York Urban Renewal Corporation LLC, in the Paulus Hook section of Jersey City.

Jan 23rd Council Agenda:
http://www.cityofjerseycity.com/uploadedFiles/Public_Notices/Agenda/city_council_agenda/CC%20AGN%202008%2001%2023.pdf

Ordinance # 08-11:
http://www.cityofjerseycity.com/uploadedFiles/Public_Notices/Agenda/city_council_agenda/CC%20OR1%202008%2001%2023.pdf


I don't quite understand how a person who is 100% against tax abatements, votes in favor of introducing one in downtown on Warren and York?

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #34 on: 03-22-2008, 09:54am »
Manzo rips tax abatements at budget hearing



More on this hearing from today's JJ Political Insider column:

IN THE GOLD COAST SHADOW
At Monday's PJ Ryan's celebration, The Insider asked Healy if he planned to attend the state Assembly Budget Committee session scheduled for Wednesday at the Liberty Science Center. Healy said he would not attend. He also did not plan to send someone from the city Finance Department.

Naturally, when the Assembly panel began its session, the first thing asked was whether there was anyone present from the city administration to open the hearings on the state's proposed $33 million budget.

Instead, Liberty Science Center officials and Assemblyman Anthony Chiappone of Bayonne did the honors.

Remember, this is the panel that will review the $8 million special aid (formerly Distressed Cities) that Jersey City is supposed to get to help balance the budget.

An early speaker was former Assemblyman Lou Manzo. Manzo attacked the city's practice of tax abating everything on the waterfront long after the need for the practice disappeared. He said the payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTS) force city and state taxpayers to subsidize luxury housing and pick up the remaining tab for local schools.

From the hearing room, the Assembly members from around the state could see Jersey City's gleaming glass and steel Gold Coast skyline when Manzo pointed at it and noted: "There's $2.1 billion in ratables sitting there contributing nothing to your budget."

Can one hear state officials salivate?

Offline duke_of_earl

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #33 on: 03-19-2008, 06:23pm »
His statements seem totally reasonable to me.

I agree.  Anyone know exactly what specific project he was ripping?

doe

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #32 on: 03-19-2008, 02:11pm »
His statements seem totally reasonable to me.

Can some of the longer term residents explain why he was nicknamed Looney Lou?

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #31 on: 03-19-2008, 02:08pm »
Manzo rips tax abatements at budget hearing
by Charles Hack
Wednesday March 19, 2008, 11:20 AM

Former state Assemblyman Louis M. Manzo ripped Jersey City this morning for continuing to hand out tax abatements at a hearing of the Assembly Budget Committee still in progress at the Liberty Science Center.

The committee is reviewing aspects of Gov. Jon Corzine's proposed 2009 budget.

Manzo, who has opened an "Office for Public Advocacy," called the way tax abatements are used in Jersey City an "abuse" since developers no longer need incentives to build on the Gold Coast.

Since tax-abated property owners are also the highest income people in the city, they should help pay for schools and county services, Manzo said.

Also signed up to speak at the hearing are Sam Pesin, president of the Friends of Liberty State Park, and representatives of Hoboken University Medical Center.

This hearing is focusing on education and local government and is expected to go well into the afternoon.

Assemblywoman Joan Quigley, D-Jersey City, sits on the committee.

Offline G_Elkind

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Hi Soshin:

There's no specific way to account for how PILOT payments are spent, as they are treated as general revenue -- just like our municipal taxes -- and they are spent accordingly. Generally speaking, the best way to see how the city spends its revenues is to read the city's approved budget.

The municipal budget does disclose anticipated PILOT revenues and realized PILOT revenues. The PILOT numbers from the FY 2007 budget, approved in April 2007, are:

Anticipated PILOT Revenues $79,069,078   

FY 2006 Realized PILOT Revenues $78,663,177

If one does a back of the envelope calculation, an additional 5% for education from PILOTS is a tad less than $4,000,000. As any such change would most likely only be assessed against new abatements (not retroactively), the actual amounts that might have been realized would be even smaller.

Even in the best light, these 5% contributions would be mere drops in the bucket when viewed against Corzine's proposed funding plan, which places the Jersey City School Budget at risk of losing $111 million, if fully phased in three years hence.

Stated another way, the $111 million represents the plan's calculated shortfall in school tax collections the state believes Jersey City should be collecting from its regular municipal tax levies.

If you're interested in reading more about the impact of the Corznine plan, check out the following link:

http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071228/OPINION/712280302/1030/OPINION

If you still have the stomach to read further, those who care about keeping our schools properly funded should become familar with the Jersey City Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

http://www.jcboe.org/businessoffice/files/D0E3913387DB4630982B7BBD53174C2B.pdf

With a school budget in excess of $725+ million in revenues compared to the City's $425+ million budget, we should be paying really close attention to these numbers as well.
 
Looked at from this perspective, you might begin to understand why I had some reason to question the efficacy of the proposed resolutions brought before city counsel this past week. Yes, our schools and our children deserve better than a band aid solution.

All the best.

Geoff

P.S. The "shifting the burden" comment was nothing more than a red herring statement that really makes no sense. In the end, the question of who pays, and who might take it on the chin, if we don't look at the full picture on funding our schools will be Jersey City's regular taxpayers and our city's children.

« Last Edit: 01-26-2008, 03:31pm by G_Elkind »

Offline Soshin

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Is there some place where we can see how the PILOT money is currently being spent?  Who accounts for this and who exactly would be losing money is some of it is shifted to the schools? 

It seems to be disingenuous to just say "Do we just want to shift the tax burden from one person to another?" if we don't get told where the money is presently..........

Am I missing a bigger picture here?
"god hates you. you will all go to yuppie hell. in yuppie hell there is no starbucks or hole foods or sushi bar. in yuppie hell you will work 16 hours a day in a bodega. in yuppie hell your car will not start when the sweeper is coming down the street. in yuppie hell your doorman will terrorize you and have sex with your wife or husband...when you are at work....in the bodega. in yuppie hell you will go to the laundromat and lose your last quarter in a broken washing machine. in yuppie hell you will buy all your food and clothing at the 99 cent store. in yuppie hell there are no cell phones, you will use a pay phone. a filthy pay phone".      -   Cat_Man Dude

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Council nixes plan to share abatement money with schools
« Reply #28 on: 01-24-2008, 04:43pm »
Council nixes plan to share abatement money with schools
by Ken Thorbourne
Thursday January 24, 2008, 2:54 PM

In 8-1 votes, the Jersey City council quashed proposals by Ward E Councilman Steve Fulop last night to share tax abatement money with local schools and expand the committee that negotiates the tax breaks.

Fulop, who received the tacit endorsement of Mayor Jerramiah Healy for his proposal to give schools 5 percent of the money the city rakes in from tax-abated properties, called the vote "a pretty sad day for Jersey City because they get an idea of how we value or kids."

"Five percent? I would say they're worth it," Fulop added.

Fulop's colleagues argued his 5 percent proposal amounted to robbing Peter to pay Paul, since money taken from the city would have to be replaced through taxes or other fees. Opponents of the measure also said that if more money went to the school district locally, state aid would shrink, meaning no overall increase for the district.

"Do we just want to shift the tax burden from one person to another?," said Ward Councilman Michael Sottolano, as he endorsed City Council President Mariano Vega's move to establish a committee to study the issue.

Ward C City Councilman Steve Lipski called Fulop "noble" for trying to "advance the argument" about school funding, but citing a Dow Jones report, said the city would be in a $19 million budget hole if it weren't for the income from for payments in lieu of taxes.

Fulop's other proposal called for adding two members of the Board of Education to the mayor's seven-member Tax Enhancement Committee, the group of city officials that negotiates the terms of tax abatements.

Council members objected on the grounds that it didn't make sense to give school officials a say in city business when the city has no say over the school district's budget.

One of eight public speakers supporting Fulop, former mayor and current school board member Anthony Cucci, scolded the council for not showing "enough concern" for the school system.

No public speaker spoke against the proposals.

The backdrop to this discussion is a new school funding formula recently adopted by the state, which seeks to shift some state aid from poor, urban districts to more working- and middle-class school districts.

As of one of the state's 31 court-designated "Abbott" districts, the 32,000-student Jersey City school system receives more than $425 million in state aid. Local taxpayers contribute $81.2 million toward the school district's roughly $600 million budget.

Offline NON

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Haha and if that ain't a statement on the fickle nature of the JC electorate, lord knows what is...

 ;D

You had me at I love you...

dear, sweet thebes. i love you so...

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You had me at I love you...

dear, sweet thebes. i love you so...
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Offline jennymayla

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OMG, i just got a PG flashback.  Who's with me?  ;D

I can't even follow half of what this is about, what with all the inuendos and historical reference and my own self-inflicted civic ignorance, but I trust Thebes to do the right thing, based on her own position and instinct.

Rock on, girl.
« Last Edit: 01-23-2008, 09:50pm by jennymayla »

Offline NON

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dear, sweet thebes. i love you so, and it's exactly this scenario i feared (and predicted) when I learned you had been hired to be councilman Fulop's aide. I really hope you'll listen to Geoff's advice regarding growing a thicker skin, and pinky's advice regarding learning to separate politics from personal relationships.

i share geoff's desire to bring about real reform to the abatement conundrum, along with his assessment that the 5% proposal is ineffective window-dressing that will have little real world impact, and that could potentially have the negative impact of creating a panacea that appears to correct the problem yet curtails momentum for real reform. McCain-Feingold anyone?

since i don't recall putting words into your mouth, thebes, i would appreciate it if you wouldn't put any into mine. iirc, you yourself have no plans to run for Mayor of JC in 2009 (though lord knows i would vote for you if you did. and i mean that.), and the only person i accused of grandstanding through his legislative efforts is Councilman Fulop.

I applaud you and JCFI for your work, as I have consistently stated, but that doesn't mean I should agree with every initiative of yours, or refrain from voicing criticism of those initiatives, particularly when what i'm criticising is the use of these initiatives for political purposes. I agree with Geoff 100% on the 5% proposal, just as i disagree with jroberts that if such a proposal were to pass, the abatement scheme would somehow hasten its extinction. You can make critics into villains all you want, but it's sad to see that you're only a few months into work at City Hall and already so good at speaking out against the critic and not their criticism.

Since the word 'naive' has already been raised in this thread, i think it is most appropriate to revisit it, in the context of examining the political moves of a politician with stated ambitions toward higher local office. I personally cannot look at anything Councilman Fulop does without looking at it through the prism of his campaign for the Mayor's seat, which though not officially declared, has been underway for some time now.

Where you see Fulop as "the only person willing to listen to our concerns and brave enough to stand up to everyone else", i see a skillful political opportunist who has absolutely nothing to lose in proposing fashionable, popular legislation that has little-to-no chance of success. He's a smart guy (who has benefited from the tutelage of very smart political operatives), who knows that such efforts will motivate vocal, active people who are politically active and frustrated with the status quo to rally around him. And he's doing this brilliantly. The more efforts, the more causes, the more band-aids, the more valiant david v. goliath stands, the more 8 to 1 votes, the more feathers in his cap.

Smart politics, this campaigning by legislative proposal. But i think it's intellectually dishonest. There's only so many times i can hear "sunlight is the best medicine" and so many times that the JJ can find out about proposals before his fellow councilpersons before i see through the politics behind it. That sincere, dedicated folks like yourself get emotionally invested and then disappointed, with everyone else around but the councilman looking like the villain, makes me sad.

This post is in no way an apology, because i never spoke out against you or your work (let alone accuse you of not doing anything to improve this city by default, as you did me), but i really hope it lends some insight into what my position is, which i don't really think you've understood in any of our mexican standoffs about politics and fulop.

On a side note, i also think it was very politically wise of Fulop to hire you. You're a dedicated member of a community outside his ward, who has already involved herself in the present Jersey City political landscape on hot-button issues. That'll sure come in handy in 2009 as he scrambles to get the city outside of ward E to consider voting for him.  :D



Edit: Geoff, i didn't mean to put words or positions into your mouth regarding the grandstanding issue. i read that into your post all by myself, probably because of my own feelings on the subject. i still share your position, and will try to refrain from ascribing views to you that you haven't explicitly stated.
« Last Edit: 01-23-2008, 08:40pm by NON »

Offline jcpeace

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   It seems like the statement of someone who would like this situation to change, but hasn’t been involved in any attempt to enact that change, so has no clue as to how it is to be done.

 

first time post and you're copying and pasting hillary clinton debate rhetoric?

pathetic.

thanks for the enlightening posts, G_Elkind
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Offline G_Elkind

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Those folks who do know me, know that I've been around the block more than just a few times in Jersey City downtown political circles.

If I have to say something, I say it straight, and do so with no screen names or avatars to hide behind -- and it's never personal. Additionally, I say what I mean, and mean what I say. If I didn't say it, it's not implied; no one has to interpret or read between the lines.

If I meant "grand-standing" you would see those words, but they're not anywhere to be seen. In fact, to the contrary, what I did say was that that I didn't "agree with Mayor Healey's characterization about 'power plays'."  (Soshin take note about nay-saying.)

A non-emotional, objective read of my post is clear about where I stand on abatements, on school funding, and on holding the school system accountable. In that regard, my orientation is perhaps not all that different than the Councilman's. We all want to reach the same outcome and objectives.

Where we really do differ is on the matter of strategy and approach to implementing effective reform and change in a place as politically challenged as Jersey City. In my opinion, while the Councilman's resolutions have a great degree of surface appeal, they would neither address the school funding issue (even for starters), and would actually help perpetuate a fundamentally flawed process.

I would further add that the School Board needs to refocus efforts on getting their own house in order. Establishing policies to hold BoE executive management professionals personally accountable for their own performance (or lack thereof) and for our school system's performance would be a great place to start.

JRoberts: Yes, it would be naive of me to advocate the wholesale obliteration of the abatement system in one stroke, however, that's neither what I said or advocated. There ain't no way, no how that type of result is ever going to happen in Jersey City, absent an Act of God or other natural disaster, like a Supreme Court decision.

On the otherhand, my view is that the resolutions as framed by the Councilman are too timid, didn't go far enough, and weren't fully promoted at the grassroots level in the same way that the pay-to-play / ethics initiatives have been to date.

Althea: If you're going to survive as a councilperson's aide or being on the front lines of effecting change in City Hall, you will need to grow a thicker skin... and please avoid going personal. It just isn't becoming a public facing professional.

I'm sorry that I won't be able to speak at tonight's City Council meeting. If anyone cares, they can read my original post, below, fully into the record. It says exactly what I would say if I had the opportunity to be present in person.

All the best and good luck tonight.

Geoff

Offline pinky

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A few things on this thread:

Geoff Elkind: has been a resident of Hamilton Park for over 20 years, he has been an one of the most outspoken advocates for Historic Preservation, our poor infrastructure and what this mass development is doing to it, and continues to be front, line and center on most issues that effect this city. While most people burn-out and   walk away, Geoff continues to stay vocal and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and his efforts. Geoff has never been quiet on his feeling regarding what developers should be giving back to Jersey City and has spoken before council against most abatements and the terms of these abatements. In my opinion our newest member, jroberts has jumped the gun and posted without doing any research on Mr Elkind.

Steven Fulop: is an elected official and is subject to public scrutiny, Non has ever right to voice his opinion. Nuff said!!

In my opinion, at no time did NON, or G_Elkind  ever denounce the organization or it's initiatives that Shelley and Thebes are part of.

One last thing:
Never allow politics or politicians to get in the way of real friendships, people need to separate the two. At the end, when the politicians are gone, your friends are not. Don't allow anyone in business ( and yes, politics is a business) to come between you and your friends or use your friendships for leverage.......just my opinion!!
« Last Edit: 01-23-2008, 07:10pm by pinky »

Offline Hurtle

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Can I get a pair of that underwear with me on the front?

Offline thebes

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For all those planning on attending, it looks like the meeting will start closer to 7 p.m. and not the usual 6 p.m.

I hope to see many of you there!
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Offline Soshin

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Wow, this hurts considering how hard Shelley and I have worked on this. I did not realize we were grandstanding along with Councilman Fulop. I thought we were fighting for real change. I guess it is best to assume that big or small steps will not work and we should give up now.

I'm extremely surprised by your words, although maybe I should not be. I'm not really sure what you think those that toil long and hard to improve this city should do when the vote is almost always 8-1 against. Read the transcripts and come to the caucus meetings. This is not grandstanding and I deeply DEEPLY resent you knocking everyone down with one fell swoop by saying the only person willing to listen to our concerns and brave enough to stand up to everyone else is grandstanding.

We've formed grassroots organizations, gone up to the state and back down. Please tell me what more we can do that won't appear to be grandstanding? Please tell me what we can work really hard for that won't instantly get put down by you, dismissed with such hard words? Work better with the rest of the council? Coalition build? What? Seriously what? Because it has been a year of us begging to all the Council people to answer our questions, address our concerns, and help the City prepare for the eventual city take over of the school system.

The mayor told us point blank, that he doesn't want city control back because they can't afford it and it isn't going to happen anyway. The Council said, we hear your concern and we will study this and get back to you... OVER 6 MONTHS later, what are they saying? We need to study this more before passing this resolution.

So you can take your "grandstanding" and shove it where the sun don't shine!



Thebes, please don't be discouraged by naysayers like Non and Elkind, concerned parents like myself appreciate everything you are, and have been trying to do (with Jersey City Families) to make people realise that the school system is in dire trouble and that steps need to be taken NOW in order to try to stem the tsunami of debt that is about to be dumped on the city.

5% may not be much but from little things, big things grow.

Keep up the good work.
"god hates you. you will all go to yuppie hell. in yuppie hell there is no starbucks or hole foods or sushi bar. in yuppie hell you will work 16 hours a day in a bodega. in yuppie hell your car will not start when the sweeper is coming down the street. in yuppie hell your doorman will terrorize you and have sex with your wife or husband...when you are at work....in the bodega. in yuppie hell you will go to the laundromat and lose your last quarter in a broken washing machine. in yuppie hell you will buy all your food and clothing at the 99 cent store. in yuppie hell there are no cell phones, you will use a pay phone. a filthy pay phone".      -   Cat_Man Dude

Offline Bobblehead

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Please, folks, lighten up on the name calling and fingerpointing, it gets old fast. No one in this thread seems to favor abatements--start from there and work forward.

[Admin note- edited by request of original poster]
« Last Edit: 01-24-2008, 10:12am by bdlaw »
Sanctimonious bleater.

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Offline thebes

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Wow, this hurts considering how hard Shelley and I have worked on this. I did not realize we were grandstanding along with Councilman Fulop. I thought we were fighting for real change. I guess it is best to assume that big or small steps will not work and we should give up now.

I'm extremely surprised by your words, although maybe I should not be. I'm not really sure what you think those that toil long and hard to improve this city should do when the vote is almost always 8-1 against. Read the transcripts and come to the caucus meetings. This is not grandstanding and I deeply DEEPLY resent you knocking everyone down with one fell swoop by saying the only person willing to listen to our concerns and brave enough to stand up to everyone else is grandstanding.

We've formed grassroots organizations, gone up to the state and back down. Please tell me what more we can do that won't appear to be grandstanding? Please tell me what we can work really hard for that won't instantly get put down by you, dismissed with such hard words? Work better with the rest of the council? Coalition build? What? Seriously what? Because it has been a year of us begging to all the Council people to answer our questions, address our concerns, and help the City prepare for the eventual city take over of the school system.

The mayor told us point blank, that he doesn't want city control back because they can't afford it and it isn't going to happen anyway. The Council said, we hear your concern and we will study this and get back to you... OVER 6 MONTHS later, what are they saying? We need to study this more before passing this resolution.

So you can take your "grandstanding" and shove it where the sun don't shine!


Wow, accusing Geoff Elkind of having never been involved in an attempt to enact change? That's a good one.

I'll refrain from getting personal on you, first-time poster jroberts, and simply counter your argument by pointing out that the 5% proposal has very little chance of success at this stage. Which Fulop knows, and knows well. Yet another feather in his cap to traipse out come election time, so he can purport that he stuck his neck out and got roadblocked by the machine. Rinse. Repeat.

That Geoff is smart enough to see these political grandstanding moves from a mile away (and calls them out, to no reply from the councilman) makes him far from the naive one in this equation.

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Offline DarkMoment

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While I disagree with NON's take on Fulop's proposal of allocating 5% of tax abatements as "political grandstanding" and Geoff's statement that the "5% from tax abatement payments to benefit our local schools is cosmetic eye-candy", I have to comment on the poster below whose statement about Geoff is so off the mark as to be more than laughable.

Geoff Elkind is a lawyer who specializes in governance issues on an international basis where most of his time is spent. He is also a former Ward E (downtown)city council candidate,past President of the Hamilton Park Neighborhood Assn., former chairman of the city's Downtown Coalition of Neighborhood Associations, and involved in most of the major efforts of civic-minded individuals fighting for JC reform and against irresponsible development.

Next time, before you say someone "has no clue as to how it is to be done", spend some time on google.


I do agree with Geoff in that tax abatements are nothing but financial suicide for Jersey City in the long term. However, the assumption that a broad-stroke rescinding of our tax abatement system can occur is a bit naive.   It seems like the statement of someone who would like this situation to change, but hasn’t been involved in any attempt to enact that change, so has no clue as to how it is to be done.



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Plan to give PILOT money to schools looks doomed
« Reply #14 on: 01-23-2008, 01:25pm »
Plan to give PILOT money to schools looks doomed
by Ken Thorbourne
Wednesday January 23, 2008, 11:15 AM

Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop refused last night to pull two of his proposals from tonight's council agenda -- both dealing with tax abatements and school funding -- even though they appear to be heading toward defeat.

One measure calls for urging the state Legislature to change the statute that governs tax abatements so the city school district would receive a 5 percent cut of the payments in lieu of taxes made by property owners.

Under the current law, the city gets to keep all the money, with the owners paying an additional 5 percent to the county.

The other measure calls for adding two Board of Education members to the mayor's Tax Enhancement Committee, the group that negotiates the terms of abatements with developers.

Mayor Jerramiah Healy had called this proposal an "unauthorized power grab" by Fulop last week and it didn't have much council support. But Council President Mariano Vega had predicted easy passage of the 5 percent-to-schools proposal -- until last night.

Several council members blasted the idea during the council caucus, arguing that it is not clear how much state aid Jersey City will receive under Gov. Jon Corzine's new school funding formula. Therefore, they argued, it would be foolhardy and premature for the city to voluntarily give schools a slice of the PILOT pie.

Instead, they proposed establishing a committee to study the matter.

Council members Bill Gaughan and Steve Lipski said the cost of the state-run school district had nearly doubled in 15 years.

"The school board has made no attempt to reduce spending," Gaughan said.

Fulop accused his colleagues of "circling the wagons" and playing politics with the issue.

"Our kids are definitely worth it," said Fulop. "And I'm not willing to back down on that."

He then offered to agree to the committee idea if his colleagues would declare a moratorium on tax abatements, to which Vega replied, "Do you think it's responsible to say 'Let's put a moratorium until I get my way?'"

Offline NON

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Wow, accusing Geoff Elkind of having never been involved in an attempt to enact change? That's a good one.

I'll refrain from getting personal on you, first-time poster jroberts, and simply counter your argument by pointing out that the 5% proposal has very little chance of success at this stage. Which Fulop knows, and knows well. Yet another feather in his cap to traipse out come election time, so he can purport that he stuck his neck out and got roadblocked by the machine. Rinse. Repeat.

That Geoff is smart enough to see these political grandstanding moves from a mile away (and calls them out, to no reply from the councilman) makes him far from the naive one in this equation.

I do agree with Geoff in that tax abatements are nothing but financial suicide for Jersey City in the long term. However, the assumption that a broad-stroke rescinding of our tax abatement system can occur is a bit naive.   It seems like the statement of someone who would like this situation to change, but hasn’t been involved in any attempt to enact that change, so has no clue as to how it is to be done.

 Our government, city or otherwise is set up to protect us from radical, knee jerk shifts in policy or law.  As frustratingly slow as this can make change for the good, the system is in place to keep government from going too swiftly in the wrong direction. Therefore, even though it’s a nice, albeit quaint thought, an all-or-nothing approach to tax abatement reform will most likely yield a result of zilch.  I think the point is to chip away, and work within the process in order to enact change.

Thebes bolsters my argument when writing that some at the caucus “claimed that the 5% was too much, but defended to the hilt the abatements and the mayors right to spend that money as he sees fit.”  Clearly, the people defending the abatement system, as it exists, know that even this small change is the first step toward its extinction.


Offline jroberts

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I do agree with Geoff in that tax abatements are nothing but financial suicide for Jersey City in the long term. However, the assumption that a broad-stroke rescinding of our tax abatement system can occur is a bit naive.   It seems like the statement of someone who would like this situation to change, but hasn’t been involved in any attempt to enact that change, so has no clue as to how it is to be done.

 Our government, city or otherwise is set up to protect us from radical, knee jerk shifts in policy or law.  As frustratingly slow as this can make change for the good, the system is in place to keep government from going too swiftly in the wrong direction. Therefore, even though it’s a nice, albeit quaint thought, an all-or-nothing approach to tax abatement reform will most likely yield a result of zilch.  I think the point is to chip away, and work within the process in order to enact change.

Thebes bolsters my argument when writing that some at the caucus “claimed that the 5% was too much, but defended to the hilt the abatements and the mayors right to spend that money as he sees fit.”  Clearly, the people defending the abatement system, as it exists, know that even this small change is the first step toward its extinction.

Offline thebes

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It's very interesting that Geoff has made these statements because i was at the caucus meeting tonight where they not only claimed that the 5% was too much, but defended to the hilt the abatements and the mayors right to spend that money as he sees fit.

I hope you will speak tomorrow night against tax abatements Geoff and everyone else who pays taxes (abated or unabated) because our tax bills will continue to rise.

Unbelievable!
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Offline shelleyskinner

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Geoff- I take what you say on board but respectfully disagree. This is the first real and important step in addressing this issue and it is long over due. The message it send to our elected leaders is also important. I personally feel it is critical that the JCBOE have say in policies that directly impact their budgets whether it is 5% or 40%. There are many many other states that allow for this and for good reasons as it has been shown to actually slow the overall amount of PILOTs.

The Jersey City school district has so many issues in regards to less than satisfactory academic performance, safety etc. The looming funding crisis only exacerbates this when many important programs potentially on the block. It is all interconnected. I don't think anyone disagrees that district management  on levels needs to be improved. The city and the district need to start having a legitimate working relationship. We have to work with the district to turn things around particularly now that district is being reintegrated back to local control. QSAC in many ways provides a unique opportunity for instructional reform.

Shelley Skinner

Offline G_Elkind

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The proposal to allocate 5% from tax abatement payments to benefit our local schools is cosmetic eye-candy. It will neither help the school budget, nor lower our residential taxes.

Let's get back to the real core issues -- there are two of them:

1. Abatements distort our tax base, unfairly shifting the real year-on-year tax burden to residential taxpers. Although I don't agree with Mayor Healey's characterization about "power plays", adding two School Board members on the PILOT panel will not add any real value, and sounds more like a traditional Jersey City "business-as-usual" solution. Contributing a paltry, fixed 5% of each PILOT payment makes School Board representation unnecessary and would simply inject more politics into an already flawed and non-transparent process.

The real problem is that Jersey City remains addicted to the quick fixes abatement payments contribute to the city general treasury, and reforming this process remains unaddressed by Councilman Fulop's proposal.

2. As for the school budget, it's a financial accident waiting to happen. With a budget that far exceeds Jersey City's, there's no transparent system of fiscal accountability in place, which demonstrates that our tax dollars are being efficiently and effectively used. If we truly care about providing our children with quality education into the future, greater fiscal accountability in the management and operation of our school system will be needed, and soon.

A 5% slice of abatement payments won't reduce our property taxes, and it will in no way offset the reductions resulting from the pending changes in the State's school funding formula.  Jersey City taxpayers have long been sheltered from the true cost of running the school system as a result of the many years of state control. The time is fast approaching when we will not be able to afford sheltering tax abated properties from participating in the year-to-year cost of running our school system.
 
New developments should pay fully, their fair share of school taxes just like the rest of us -- not just 5%. Now that would be real abatement reform, which would benefit our schools directly. If we don't consider real reform soon, the residential taxpayer will bear the brunt of the school system's fiscal inefficiencies when the State gladly hands back the mess to us.

What ever happened to rationalizing or eliminating the distortions the abatement process has created?

Let's get back to real abatement reform.

All the best.

Geoff

Offline shelleyskinner

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Many of you know that Councilman Fulop has two resolutions going before the City Council regarding school funding this coming Wednesday. These resolutions are crucial to the future funding of our schools.  The first stipulates that 5% of PILOT payments are "held harmless" and given to the Jersey Public Schools, which currently receives none of the tax revenue from abated properties. With local share anticipated to increase mightly due to the new funding formula, this is a critical first step in addressing the budget short fall facing our school district. The second resolution requires that the Mayor appoint 2 Board of Education members to his tax abatement committee. Many other states require more of a formal partnerships between the school boards and municipalities to ensure school funding is factored in when tax abatements are being considered. The Board of Education would therefore have a say in the tax policy that directly impacts their budget and our non-abated taxes. Given that public education is arguably the most important government service and is now coming back under City control, having Board of Education representation during these decisions is vital. So if you can, please come out to the Council Meeting Wednesday January 23, 2008 at 6 p.m. (in P.S. #4 on Bright Street)to show your support. We need to show that there is strong support for these resolutions. To get on the speakers list call (201) 547-5150.

Shelley Skinner

Offline LadyDi

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #7 on: 05-21-2007, 02:28pm »
Devil's advocate here (in fact, I oppose the tax abatement's burden on folks like myself):

It was the abatements that allowed Jersey City to catapult from what it was (some of us remember JC in the 80s--a bankrupt hole) to the chic and hip thing it is now.

Jersey City's main problem has been corruption, so the argument goes: clean up the corruption, and you take care of the finances.

However, Jersey City, like the entire state, has huge infrastructure costs, and ones that are growing.  What would a solution beyond abatements be?  Would residents ever bear the kinds of taxes Short Hills has?

Offline bdlaw

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #6 on: 05-21-2007, 02:23pm »
Mia Scanga did a show on it. A lot of home owners freak out when they find out about this because they assumed they would be able to pass it on and often misinform the seller. It means that buyers will be more likely to buy a condo of the same value in a newly built building where they can get an abated property.

Tax abatements really only benefit the City and the developers... at least for a period of time.

We need to get Mia on this site.

MIA!!!!

That
Sucks.

I have no interest in buying a shoebox in a high-rise.

Back to lurking and learning on this one...
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Offline thebes

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #5 on: 05-21-2007, 02:20pm »
Mia Scanga did a show on it. A lot of home owners freak out when they find out about this because they assumed they would be able to pass it on and often misinform the seller. It means that buyers will be more likely to buy a condo of the same value in a newly built building where they can get an abated property.

Tax abatements really only benefit the City and the developers... at least for a period of time.

We need to get Mia on this site.

MIA!!!!
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Offline NON

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #4 on: 05-21-2007, 02:02pm »
You shouldn't feel bad for having abatement. You probably had a lot of money factored into how much you paid for the place. Plus, you can't pass that abatement on should you decide to sell and that may mean you get a lot less for your place.

This is not about pointing the finger at anyone else. The developers and the politicians ave created a vicious cycle.

Me telling you that you should feel bad about having a tax abated property is like you telling me I should not take advantage of the child income tax credit.

But I would like to know more about the real implications of abatements so that when a council person tells me they are good for us, I know what questions to ask.


is the above-bolded statement true? i thought abatements survived with title-changes, through the running of their abatement period (whether it be 5 years or 20 years). Can somebody clarify?

TIA.

Robin.

Offline thebes

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #3 on: 05-21-2007, 01:54pm »
You shouldn't feel bad for having abatement. You probably had a lot of money factored into how much you paid for the place. Plus, you can't pass that abatement on should you decide to sell and that may mean you get a lot less for your place.

This is not about pointing the finger at anyone else. The developers and the politicians ave created a vicious cycle.

Me telling you that you should feel bad about having a tax abated property is like you telling me I should not take advantage of the child income tax credit.

But I would like to know more about the real implications of abatements so that when a council person tells me they are good for us, I know what questions to ask.

I don't know.  I pay 4,000 per year for an 800 square foot place.  I get crime, shitty schools, and potholed streets.

My parents pay 900 per year for a 2500 square foot house, plus 2 acres of land.  They get good roads, no crime, the best schools in TN.

So, when people say I should feel bad for my abatement, (in 18 months I will pay around 6-8K) I say, "I pay too damn much already." 
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Offline justiceiro

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Re: Tax Abatements
« Reply #2 on: 05-21-2007, 12:46pm »
I don't know.  I pay 4,000 per year for an 800 square foot place.  I get crime, shitty schools, and potholed streets.

My parents pay 900 per year for a 2500 square foot house, plus 2 acres of land.  They get good roads, no crime, the best schools in TN.

So, when people say I should feel bad for my abatement, (in 18 months I will pay around 6-8K) I say, "I pay too damn much already." 
I'm the Chakotay that you want me to be.

Offline thebes

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Tax Abatements
« Reply #1 on: 05-21-2007, 12:27pm »
This is a very confusing subject... but maybe someone can explain a bit of it? PLEASE!!!!

Abatements are sold to us as a great thing and over simplified. However, I do know their tax rate stays the same as the taxes in the year that the abatement was granted, while unabated properties see increases.

TIA
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Jersey City, NJ Community Forums

Tax Abatements
« Reply #1 on: 05-21-2007, 12:27pm »