“Tennis Shoes and Taxes”
Wednesday, September 5, 2012 • 11:12am
The Summit Taxpayers Association is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to advocate for fiscally responsible government. Our mission is to reduce property tax increases to zero within three years, by 2014, through dialog and non-partisan analysis regarding our City, School and County budgets.
Welcome home taxpayers! Many Summit residents are returning from vacation after one of the hottest summers on record. Back to school shoppers may have noticed one of the hottest foot apparel items, "Labron James Tennis Shoes" obscenely priced at $325. Scuffles occurred in retail outlets as customers elbowed one another for the opportunity to own a pair.
Property taxes also rose this summer by over $500 and now exceed $15,500 on average per household. That's enough to buy almost 50 new pairs of "LJTS"! What do tennis shoes and property taxes have in common? First, lots of shoe buyers have plans to re-sell and too many Summit home owners are planning for the same. Second, both agree obscenely costly shoes and property taxes mean owners can't afford to own them making re-sale the only logical financial solution. One difference, tennis shoe owners plan for immediate re-sale while home owners have a reason to wait ... at least until back to school days in the household are over for good.
The Summit taxpayers Association (STA) has argued large tax increases year after year hurt diversity by prohibiting young families from moving to Summit and forcing senior citizens to leave their beloved hometown. Summit's 2012 tax levy grew by almost $4 million with $3 million of this increase due directly to Union County's lack of fiscal responsibility. Modest increases in the School and City budgets resulted from hard work and disciplined efforts by our School Board and City Council. However, after growing by more than 25% last year, City fire and police pension costs inexplicably declined (pension holiday?) in 2012. Unfortunately, other spending increased enough to grow the overall City budget by more than $1 million dollars. In addition to higher spending and ever higher property taxes, Summit also continues to grow our outstanding municipal debt which now exceeds $125 million dollars.
Please join us to discuss these and other important property tax issues. Our first fall meeting will be on September 24th at 7:30PM in the Summit Middle School. Mr. Dave Bomgaars, Chairman of the City Council Finance Committee, has graciously accepted our invitation to be our guest speaker.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts about how we can all work to keep Summit affordable as well as beautiful.
Thomas M. Garvey
President, Summit Taxpayers Association
P.O. Box 474
Summit, N.J. 07902-0474