With the FY22 budget season beginning shortly, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association strongly supported this week a bill that calls for shared services and potential cost savings for local and county governments.
Bill S-1, which cleared the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee by a 12-0 vote on Thursday, represents a legislative effort to exercise much-needed fiscal discipline for the state with the highest property taxes in the nation.
“These are very challenging fiscal times for New Jersey and our financial problems are deeply systemic,” said NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Christopher Emigholz. “New Jersey needs to recognize cost-savings wherever it can and pass that down to our property taxpayers. This bill takes a positive step in that direction.”
S-1, sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and Sen. Vin Gopal (D-11), encourages shared service agreements and joint contracts through modification of the “Uniform Shared Services and Consolidation Act.” Some modifications also include civil service relief for shared service agreements.
“Identifying and implementing government efficiencies that will produce cost savings for taxpayers is more important than ever as we seek to recover from the economic hardships suffered by so many businesses and people as a result of the pandemic,” Sweeney said in a statement. “Property taxes in New Jersey are the highest in the nation, and we all know why.”
“Sharing public services as a way to govern more responsibly is not a new concept in New Jersey, but it is more important than ever, especially today when local governments are striving to deliver services in the midst of a pandemic,” Gopal added. “We continue to look for ways to encourage shared services agreements, and support our towns and counties who are thinking outside the box in order to enhance services for residents through the efficient use of tax dollars.”
The bill is part of the “Path to Progress” report, issued by the New Jersey Fiscal Policy Working Group in 2018.
NJBIA continues to strongly advocate for the impactful reforms within the report to remedy the state’s high debt load and excessive taxation on already overburdened New Jersey residents and businesses.