The Star-Ledger’s Steve Chambers takes a look today at a 26-year-old state law that limits local budget increases in Massachusetts to 2.5 percent, an idea that’s getting some consideration here in New Jersey.


No surprise, it turns out not to be a panacea. For one thing, while residential property owners in the Bay State pay about $550 a year less, on average, than New Jersey homeowners, they also pay $525 more in income taxes.

And the cap isn’t ironclad. There’s a loophole that allows local officials to ask voters’ permission to override the cap.

From the story:

“Property taxes are still too high, but one of the reasons is that voters are voting to override the limit,” said Barbara Anderson, whose Citizens for Limited Taxation organized the 1980 campaign that got “Prop 2 1/2” passed…

This year, about half of the 150 override efforts passed. In places like the affluent Boston suburb of Weston, such measures have never been voted down.

Last week, Gov. Jon Corzine proposed a property tax cap of 3 percent to 4 percent.

The Ledger article is the second installment in a five-part series called “Tax Tour.” Sunday’s looked at Delaware—where the property tax per capita is $546, compared to New Jersey’s $2,099—and tomorrow’s focus is on Pennsylvania.

Michigan and Arkansas are also on the itinerary.

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