Newly selected state League of Municipalities President and East Windsor Mayor Janice S. Mironov testified Thursday before the state Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee in favor of legislation that would require certain energy tax receipts to be paid directly to municipalities.
The bill, A-2753, received unanimous, bipartisan support from the Committee, and according to Mironov, it would restore funding diverted by the state from energy taxes intended for local use and property tax relief.
“Property taxes without question are the number one concern of our residents in the state of New Jersey today, so it’s important that we work together on this, and other related issues, to try to lessen the burden of property taxes,” Mironov said during her December 2012 message as new president on Wednesday.
Under current law, energy tax receipts, which are collected from utilities and energy companies, are all collected by the state.
Taxes on gas and electric utilities were originally collected by the host municipalities, but the state revised the collection and distribution process in 1997.
According to Mironov, when the state made itself the collection agent for these taxes, it promised to return to towns all proceeds for municipal property tax relief.
However, through the annual appropriations act, the state often retains a portion of the energy tax receipts to fund state programs, she said.
“These are monies that used to be paid directly to towns – they are intended to provide property tax relief – and over the years officials of both parties have diverted these monies to plug holes in the state budget and to use for their own state priorities, rather than funneling them on to local towns, whose monies they are, so that they can be used for local property tax relief,” she said.
According to Mironov, the cumulative impact of years of underfunding has left many municipalities with serious needs and burdensome property taxes.
She believes locally elected officials should decide the best use for these resources that were always intended to fund local programs and services and reduce property taxes.
Mironov was elected as the new president of the state’s League of Municipalities during its Annual Business Meeting on Wednesday.
She previously served as the League’s first vice president, and is currently a member of the League’s Legislative Committee, Resolutions Committee, Chairperson of the League’s Housing Policy Committee, Chairperson of the League’s Statutory Funding Compliance Committee, which works for restoration of municipal energy tax receipts, and Co-Chairperson of the League’s Energy Policy Committee.
Further, she represents the League on the Board of New Jersey Shares and the state Highway Traffic Safety Policy Advisory Committee.
“It’s really a tremendous honor to be selected as the head of this great organization and to have an opportunity to work with the League staff, and all the terrific officials and mayors throughout the state of New Jersey,” Mironov said Wednesday.
Mironov was sworn in yesterday at the East Windsor Township Senior Center.