In this post I’m using 2 public datasets: A: Jersey City’s 2022 Municipal Budget (Introduced) with proposed 2022 revenue and expense, located on the city website here. B: Jersey City’s 2015-2021 Municipal Budget summaries compiled in NJ’s User Friendly Budget Database (Excel file downloadable here). On June 15th, Jersey City released introduced its 2022 budget....Continue reading
Category: Tax Abatements
Jersey City’s 2022 Municipal Budget: the Big Picture
On June 15th, Jersey City released introduced its 2022 budget. This is a part of a series about that budget. In this post I’m using two public datasets: A: Jersey City’s 2022 Municipal Budget (Introduced) with proposed 2022 revenue and expense, located on the city website here. B: Jersey City’s 2015-2021 Municipal Budget summaries compiled...Continue reading
Jersey City 2021 Budget: 160 abatements on city’s books; visualizations on abatement type, value, PILOTs, and taxes if billed in full
This is part of a series on the 2021 city budget. The spirit of this series is: I’m interested in unpacking the budget and sharing as I go. In that same spirit, I’m sharing interactive Tableau data visualizations that help others dig into the budget. See the full serieshere. The 2021 budget documents are onlinehere. ...Continue reading
Tax Abatements 801: We need better abatement disclosures in NJ to show impact on public schools
This is post included in both my abatement series and a series about the User Friendly Budget in NJ. We need better disclosures in NJ to understand the impact of tax abatements on the local fiscal landscape, particularly as it relates to public schools. The user friendly budget – mandated by the state starting in...Continue reading
The “User Friendly Budget”, part 5 & Tax Abatements 701 – Abatement disclosures in the UFB
Note: the visualizations below are best viewed on a computer or tablet (vs a phone). Jersey City recently announced it was terminating an abatement on four buildings within the Beacon complex. The reason: “ownership defaulted on an obligation to retain and present employee records, city officials announced.” This is a good reminder that abatements are...Continue reading
Why the School Tax Levy is Key to Funding JCPS (and why seeking abatement funds is not a concrete solution).
I've heard "can't we go after the abatement money to fund our schools? Rather than increase the school tax levy?" The answer is: no, at least not directly. I wrote about the intersection of abatements & school funding back in 2015; this current moment has been foreseeable for years, unfortunately our elected are only now...Continue reading
Jersey City: Approximately $40 Million of School Tax is Locked Up in Abatement Contracts
This is part of a series about the 2019/20 proposed municipal and schools budgets in Jersey City. Jersey City’s proposed 2019/20 municipal budget shows that over $120 million in PILOT fees are expected to be collected in in the coming year. What is notable about PILOT fees is that they don’t contribute to the school...Continue reading
Updated: Jersey City Abatements from 2016 User Friendly Budget. Mapped by Project Type & Ward.
If you are new to the topic of abatements, I recommend my tax abatement series here including my 2015 article,”Jersey City PILOTs Rob Funding from the School System.“ This post is a refinement of my previous “Mapping Jersey City Abatements By Project Type and Ward” post. I wanted to update the data, and the map, to show...Continue reading
Fulop Era Abatements Approved from 2013 to 2016
I’m sharing a new map I created that pin-drops all abatements approved since Mayor Fulop and the current City Council took office*, i.e. since the summer of 2013. I created the map after reading Terrence McDonald‘s recent article from the Jersey Journal titled “Has Steve Fulop Evolved on Tax Abatements?” It’s a valid question and...Continue reading
Op-Ed Follow-Up: Get the Facts & Figures About Abatements & Public School Funding in Jersey City
I teamed up with Ellen Simon to co-author an op-ed in The Jersey Journal about how Jersey City’s PILOT policy harms our public schools. The article is dense with facts, figures, and assertions. To ensure our assertions are as accessible as possible to the public, I’ve created a landing page to help readers sort through the...Continue reading
Jersey Journal Op-Ed Highlights PILOT vs. Public Schools Tension in Jersey City
I teamed up with Ellen Simon, a friend, fellow public school parent, and former board trustee of the Jersey City BOE, to co-author an op-ed in the Jersey Journal. The topic: how Jersey City’s PILOT policy “robs” funding from our public schools. The term “rob” is not ours…to find out who did coin the term, in context...Continue reading
Mapping Jersey City’s Abatements by Project Type and Ward
If you are new to the topic of abatements, I recommend my tax abatement series here. I’ve updated my 2015 long-term abatement map to include 2016 data. The map is provided below, along with reports showing underlying data grouped by project type (affordable housing vs. market) and by ward. Source data was derived from the city’s user friendly...Continue reading
Jersey City PILOTs Rob Funding from the School System
A strong public school system is essential bedrock to a healthy community. Yet in Jersey City, our bedrock is threatened by a fiscal policy that is over-reliant on PILOTs. Here’s the crux of the problem: PILOTs help grow the city, which in turn increases demand for public schools. But PILOTed residents don’t pay school tax, leaving taxpayers to bear the burden of...Continue reading
Mapping Abatements in Jersey City
As I explained in my last post, transparency around abatements is finally, slowly, increasing. As data is unlocked, taxpayers can glean greater insight into how their tax dollars are spent. To help with this effort, I’ve mapped the 146 abatements from Jersey City’s 2015 “user friendly budget” into an easy-to-use Google map. Let’s Get Civic with...Continue reading
Tax Abatements 601: Brighter Sunshine Mandated for NJ Abatements
Tax abatement reporting in Jersey City is finally getting more transparent. Two distinct authoritative bodies have mandated changes that require Jersey City (and other cities) to get onboard the transparency train. This news should come as a relief to taxpayers since abatements now constitute over 20% of Jersey City’s annual revenue yet have been sharply criticized by the NJ Comptroller as being too opaque and...Continue reading
Jersey City, We Have A Problem.
Jersey City has been estimating the cost of its abatements incorrectly for at least eight years, and the impact to conventional taxpayers could amount to millions of dollars. Here’s the problem: Jersey City has been under-counting the number of (a) residents and (b) public school students that will eventually live in each abated building. The City has been using...Continue reading
Tax Abatements 501: A Critique of Mayor Fulop’s “Buy Up” Abatement Policy
In my Abatement Series, I’ve discussed the basic premise of abatements, how they are funded, and the impact to conventional taxpayers. In this post I look at Mayor Fulop’s new tax abatement policy for Jersey City, which includes two notable components: Tiering System: A system of awarding abatements based on geographic location or project type1. Each “tier”...Continue reading
Tax Abatements & Schools: What Does 1.88 Students Look Like?
On Wednesday night, the City Council approved an 80-unit abatement in downtown Hamilton Park. Here are some of the specs on the property: located at 9th & Brunswick in downtown Hamilton Park a community the abatement will extend for 20 years contain 80 units, including 20 3-bedroom units and 35 2-bedroom units 1.88 kids from the building will attend the...Continue reading
Tax Abatements 401: The Transparency Issue
In his 2010 report, “A Programmatic Examination of Tax Abatements,” NJ Comptroller A. Matthew Boxer highlighted numerous weaknesses with abatements. One issue he touched upon was transparency. He stated, “Information concerning abatement[s]…is not published in a transparent manner or centralized location, making it difficult to impossible for the public to compare, calculate the effect of,...Continue reading
Tax Abatements 301: Two Sides of the Same PILOT
This is article #3 in my series about abatements. Article #1 is “Tax Abatements 101: The Basics” and Article #2 is “Tax Abatements 201: Abatement Impact on Conventional Taxpayers.” In my previous post, “Tax Abatements 201: Abatement Impact on Conventional Taxpayers”, I focused on the orange slice of the pie pieces below. In this post I...
Tax Abatements 201: Abatement Impact on Conventional Taxpayers
This is Article #2 in my series about abatements, which focuses on the impact abatements have on conventional taxpayers. My first post, “Abatement Basics,” is located here. How important are abatements to Jersey City residents? The answer: extremely important. Abatement revenues – also known as PILOTs, or “payments in lieu of taxes” – have increased from 3% of...Continue reading
Tax Abatements 101: A Basic Overview
A basic introduction to the topic of tax abatements in NJ.Continue reading
Let’s Get Civic
The genesis of CivicParent.org…. I live in Jersey City and on November 14, 2013 I learned that Mayor Fulop’s first abatement – the 3 towers planned for Journal Square – would not include dedicated funding for Jersey City public schools. I also learned that five City Council members, all of whom were Fulop-endorsed candidates, approved...