Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Politicians Run From Tax Hiker Label

A New Jersey pollster says politicians have been quaking in their boots ever since Gov. Florio's tax increases in 1990 brought his party a major defeat. Now, Medford Township is struggling with the idea it must raise taxes to prevent bankruptcy or suffer drastic cuts.

Politicians Run From Tax Hiker Label

Former Gov. Florio
Former Gov. Florio

 

A New Jersey pollster says state and local politicians have been quaking in their boots ever since 1990 when Gov. Florio's tax increases handed his party a major defeat.  The Dems lost the legislature the very next year, and then he failed to be reelected.    

Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said politicians from both parties learned a lesson from Florio's experience, but it has led to poor budget practices.  The state and many municipalities have used budget gimmicks and one-time fixes to balance the books, which in turn create deepening budget deficits. 

Shortly after he was elected, Florio raised income taxes and sales taxes because he faced a big budget hole.  He also wanted to use the new revenue to provide sorely needed property tax relief. 

But the voters had the last word.  No one wanted to raise taxes after that, Murray said.

The problem is that sometimes tax hikes are necessary, as Medford Township is finding out.  It is nearly $6 million in debt after its town leaders refused to raise taxes for six years and kept on spending.  Now, residents face a double whammy - higher taxes and the elimination of services, including parks and recreation, bulk trash pickup and more. 

Jan Hefler
About this blog

Written by Inquirer staff writer Jan Hefler, the Burlco Buzz blog covers breaking news in the the county, as well as its quirky characters, crime cases, politics, outdoor recreation and environment. Contact Jan at jhefler@phillynews.com.

Jan Hefler
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