In New Jersey, municipalities cannot raise money except via property
taxes. All other taxes are reserved for the State: Sales, Gasoline,
Income are all State taxes.
Republican state legislators and our Republican governor will not raise
ANY taxes, lest they contribute to having a functional government. As a result,
municipalities are forced to use property taxes to fund most local services.
As costs increase (pension funds, increasing cost of health insurance,
inflation), municipalities must raise property taxes ever higher just to
make a show of “keeping up”.
They aren’t really keeping up. The roads steadily deteriorate and are just
patched endlessly. Dams aren’t fixed, so that eventually ponds are just
drained because it’s cheaper. Portions of my town have no city water and
sewer; we’re on well water and septic systems. One would think that
eventually, city water and sewer would be expaneded to every resident, but
there is no money for such an expansion.
If the town raises property taxes enough to keep up with the maintenence,
people on a small fixed income (like Social Security) will lose their homes,
or be forced to move to a cheaper state.
I remember when the people in this country understood that one has to pay
taxes in order to have things like roads and parks (and armies). Now it
seems that the idea of paying taxes in order to support all the things we
need in common has been replaced by “every man for himself”. I
wonder if people even wonder why the roads are so crappy, or why bridges
fall down. Do they think at all, or are they just Trump voters?
Apropos: D.C. Metro Shuts Down for Unprecedented Safety Inspections
March 13, 2016