Did you get a postcard last week from the Hillsborough Assessor? Mine looks the same as it did last year - no changes for 2008. Look down at the number in the lower left-hand corner. Wow! It's hard to believe that we are paying that much.
Do the Trenton politicians care about what Hillsborough homeowners are paying in property taxes? Well, I'm certain our assemblyman does - and not just because he lives here. And you can be sure there are a few others here and there.
But on the whole - from the Governor and his advisors on down - the powers-that-be just don't care.
Why should they? They don't levy the tax, they don't collect the tax - they have nothing to gain if property taxes go down, and nothing to lose if they go up.
Of the three major taxes that Hillsborough residents pay - the property tax is the most regressive and hits people the hardest. The fairest tax is the state income tax - based on one's ability to pay. Low income - low tax. Simple. The sales tax, based on the theory that those who spend more can afford to pay more, is also more progressive than the property tax - although there are plenty of frugal high income people - you probably know a few!
Residential property taxes have only a minor correlation with one's ability to pay. There are lots of homeowners in town who bought their houses thirty or forty years ago and wouldn't be able to buy the same house today - they would never be able to afford it.! Why do we think they can afford today's property taxes?
The governor can talk about solutions to the state's financial woes - monetization, dramatization, whatever - but he would never suggest increasing the rates on one of the less regressive taxes to give some relief to the towns and property owners. Why? Because no one in Trenton wants to be the one who raised our taxes.
They leave that sorry chore to the guy that sends the postcards.
After reading this through, I think I need to add the disclaimer that these are my personal views as a Hillsborough resident and homeowner, and do not reflect the opinions of the Hillsborough Township Board of Education.