The notion of a lifelong Camden County Democrat and long-serving legislator like N.J. Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald as a crusader for lower property taxes strikes some readers as...less than compelling.
"Greenwald is the Igor to [former Gov.] Jon Corzine’s Dr. Frankenstein role in creating the property tax monster in NJ he is purportedly now 'fighting,'" Camden County GOP chairman Tom Booth writes me in reaction to my September 10 column lauding the Sixth District Democrat's property tax position.
"Greenwald...has had his chance to fix the system during each of his 18 years in office. If he hasn’t gotten it right yet, what makes us think he ever will?" says Booth, in a separate email. "His 'big' idea: a citizen’s convention. Awesome. Let’s let everyone tell him how to fix the problem since he apparently has no idea how to fix the problem."
"Our recent property tax bill shows Camden County receiving 28% of our property tax," writes Ralph Eastwick, of Haddonfield. "For what residents receive, we may as well flush that money down the toilet. (Flu shots? Free Tommy James and the Shondell concerts?). As far as I can tell, county government exists for two reason: 1) patronage and 2) building a power base. It is an anachronism..."
John Miscenich, of Delran, writes that he was among the advocates a decade ago of the same sort of property tax reform convention and referendum process Greenwald now espouses.
The Democrats "gave us what turned to be a bunch of political gobbledegook," he writes, noting that the party then "controlled the Legislature and the Governorship and possessed the wherewithal and had the opportunity to do something earnest to reform property tax.
"However as history shows they were dismissive and did nothing because they saw no sense of urgency on a matter that was indeed urgent then, and Greenwald acknowledges is now."
Not every reader was, shall we say, dumfounded by Greenwald, the columnist, or both.
A Moorestown mother of two, who requests anonymity, regards her property taxes as a bargain.
"I am...happy to pay the taxes...[they make] it more affordable to provide my children with a good education," she writes. "My 'payments' are spread over a time period I can manage. The world, the nation, our state and our town benefit from good schools."