NEW JERSEY: BY THE NUMBERS

While we are one Garden State, we are fragmented by county, town, and school district. This has implications with property tax, including school & city taxes.

1

State

21

Counties

565

Municipalities

650+

School Districts

THE MUNICIPAL BUDGET

Each year, municipalities across NJ must approve an annual budget. We can learn about how local government operates when we follow this public money as part of the annual budgeting process.

"Municipalities in New Jersey, regardless of their form of government, can be classified as belonging to one of five types of municipal government: 1) Borough 2) Township 3) City 4) Town 5) Village." - NJ State League of Municipalities

Jersey City (a city) is home to 283,000 residents...Montclair (a township) is home to 41,000. These two municipalities, and hundreds more, use the same budget forms to share details about revenue and expense each year. This budget data can give us insight into both a specific town's financial profile, but also how we can compare and contrast municipalities in terms of spending priorities, fiscal constraints, and more.

Budget Focus: JERSEY CITY

In June 2022, Jersey City's municipal government released the calendar year budget for 2022.

The municipal government released its calendar year 2022 proposed budget on June 15, 2022. The budget is propoed each year by the administration (e.g. mayor's office) and the introduced to the public via the legislative body (e.g. city council ordinance). The process then unfolds with a series of public committee hearings where the proposed budget is reviewed by the legislative body with some expected back-and-forth with the administration until a final budget is agreed upon.

I've written series on the city budget for the past three years and will be writing new content this year to accompany my live teach-ins.

The latest: property tax expense viewer.

View the latest post here

Budget Focus: MONTCLAIR

I worked with advocates in Montclair to help teach the public about the municipal user friendly budget.

In Fall 2021 I worked with a team of civic advocates in Montclair to help grow awareness around NJ’s User Friendly Municipal Budget.  On January 26th at 7pm, we hosted a quick but intense dive into Montclair’s local finance, with a teaching about how to navigate this budget and better understand key questions like "how can I better understand what drives my tax bill?" Feedback was positive and important: attendees expressed feeling more confident and empowered to explore their local finance using this public document. Read more here.

TOPICAL ANALYSIS...

Learn about local public finance in the Garden State

PUBLIC BUDGETS
City budgets including statewide comparisons of revenue and expense on a per-municipal basis using the standardized "User Friendly Budget" report.

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TAX ABATEMENTS

A full series unpacks the topic of tax abatements including the intersection of city and school funding. Jersey City, the largest grantor of tax abatements in NJ, is used as a case study.

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PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Using statewide data available from the NJ Department of Education data site, compare enrollment, school funding, and state aid across the Garden State.

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PROPERTY TAXES
Learn about property taxes including the tax base and the three component levies (municipal, county, and schools).

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PROPERTY REVALUATION

Learn the who/what/when/where/why of property revaluation through a series that uses Jersey City as a case study. In 2018, Jersey City conducted its first revaluation in 30 years.

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