POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Asw. Schepisi Pushes Legislation to Help Municipalities That Purchase Flood-Prone Homes

The state Treasury Department released a report today that found September tax revenue overall rose 3.9 percent from the same time last year. Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-39) told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that the newest numbers prove Gov. Chris Christie was correct in his optimism for the state, though the revenues don’t measure up to his 7 percent projections. Schepisi also discussed legislation she has introduced that would help municipalities that acquire flood-prone homes avoid paying taxes on the property.

Schepisi said the increased revenue for the state is good news, but officials need to do more to make New Jersey business friendly. “I think that we need to help facilitate through income tax cuts, through incentivizing businesses to stay within the state,” she said. “We have to be proactive. We have to work together. We need bipartisan support to become a business friendly state. We cannot implement things like millionaires tax. We cannot implement additional taxation on our LLCs and our limited partnerships and our small businesses if we want to see continued growth and if we want to be able to have a sustainable living within the state of New Jersey.”

Strong rainstorms last year, including Tropical Storm Irene, hit areas of Schepisi’s district hard and began the process of municipalities buying out flood-prone homes. Schepisi is proposing legislation that would ease the tax burden on municipalities that have purchased those homes.

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She used Westwood as an example, saying the mayor told her “he and the council were having an issue in figuring out how to actually acquire these properties and not take an unnecessary tax hit for the municipality itself because based upon when in the year the municipality acquires the properties they would either be tax exempt for the upcoming year or they would actually have to pay the county portion, the state portion and the school portion and if applicable the fire portion.”

In Westwood, the amount of taxes could be up to $40,000 to $45,000 Schepisi said. She called the legislation a “common sense approach” that would offer relief.

“So long as appropriate notice has been given and a budget hasn’t been set by a school board or by the county, the municipality would be able to provide notice that they’re going to acquire these properties and they would be taken off the tax rolls at the purchase regardless of when during the year they were acquired,” Schepisi explained.

She’s optimistic that the legislation will make its way to Christie’s desk. “I have strong bipartisan support on it,” she said. “On both sides of the aisle, everybody says it makes sense.”