Jersey City lost another $68 million in state aid on March 10th, 2022. This cut was expected, part of the phased “S2” cuts that have been reducing Jersey City’s state aid by $100+ million just in the last three years alone. A question I continue to get is: why is state aid being cut, anyway? And the answer is: Jersey City has the largest tax base in the entire state, but the 49th lowest school tax rate.
Each year, the NJ Department of Community Affairs publishes the prior year tax rates and I’ve provided the ‘equalized’ school tax rates below. Equalized tax rates are the rates computed using the equalized, or market, value of the tax base and they are an ‘apples to apples’ view of tax rates that can be compared among towns in NJ. By comparing how other “model” districts fund their schools, we can see, through one lens, how Jersey City is falling short in terms of local investment.
As an introductory frame:
- Jersey City’s 2021 school tax rate was 0.52% and Jersey City sent 37% of their property tax dollars to the schools. The remaining 63% of the property tax goes to the county and city.
- Summit’s school tax rate is 0.94% and Summit sends 52% of their property tax dollars to the schools.
- Chatham Township’s school tax rate is 1.11% and Chatham Township sends 65% of their property tax dollars to the schools.
- Edison’s school tax rate is 1.23% and Edison sends 57% of their property tax dollars to the schools.
Check it all out below; the sources data is on the DCA site here.