Rebates — Taxpayer Buyoff

Are We Complicit?

Property Tax Rebates are what politicians use to payoff and, hopefully, shut up discontent taxpayers. Who can blame them? They keep getting re-elected despite their failure to deal substantially with the Property Tax problem. Even with repeated reductions in the size of rebates after they campaigned to increase them does not seem to deter the New Jersey voter from sending the rascals back to Trenton.

Why New Jersey voters seem to repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot is a mystery. But it does not occur on simply the local and state level. Despite being at the bottom of tax dollars returned to N.J. from Washington, the voters keep sending Democrats back there. So, it appears politicians are on safe ground in spite of betraying the taxpayers time after time. There is no risk.

Rebates Not a Solution

Nevertheless, the property tax rebate is not an answer to the Property Tax. Most taxpayers will take any relief they can get. None really accept it as a panacea for the fundamental issue. It is better than nothing. But a few hundred dollars or even a thousand and change are peanuts when one’s taxes are $6,000 or $8,000 and fast approaching five figures.

Tacit Admission

The state understands how expensive it is to live in New Jersey. The Income Tax acknowledges this by not requiring a penny of tax for joint filers with $25,000 or less in income. What is inexplicable is how the state expects the same couple to be able to afford a $6,000 property tax bill.

What is even more baffling is how a measly $1,000 rebate is seen as doing something for those folks. Why are they not covered under the same no tax due rule as exists for the Income Tax? That would be true relief.

The fact that there is an income based component to receiving rebates is a clear admission that the Property Tax is inherently unfair. Otherwise, tax rebates would be across the board. But they are not because they do not have equal benefit that way. Those most oppressed by the Property Tax are so because it fails to take into account ability to pay. Rebates based upon that inability tacitly admit that fact.

Only One Certain and Final Way

As long as the Property Tax is used to collect taxes, there will never be tax justice. There will always be people at the bottom who are asked to bear a disproportionate share of the overall tax burden. The only hope we have for real and certain relief from property taxes is to eliminate them. Nothing else will bring such an absolute and final solution.

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