Thursday, July 06, 2006

Rebates are not "reform"

The major sticking point in New Jersey's soon-to-be gone budget impasse was Assembly Democrats' insistence that 100% of the revenue received as a result of the proposed increase in the state sales tax be dedicated to "property tax reform." Democrats want to be in the position to give taxpayers a larger property tax rebate so that they can claim victory in the battle to reform the property tax system.

But is a property tax rebate, funded through a sales tax increase, really reform? Or is it, in a way, robbing Peter to pay Paul? Raising taxes just so the government can give more money back at the end of the year is somewhat perverse. Why not just let the taxpayers keep their money in the first place, instead of loaning it to the government in hopes that they will get it back?

What's more perverse is the laughable notion that increasing property tax rebates is actually a reform of the property tax system in this state. The only way to obtain meaningful property tax reform is by reforming the counties, municipalities and school systems that depend on property taxes for their operating revenue.

If only the Democrats would stop the games and actually work towards reform.

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