PRESS RELEASE November-26-2019

Sweeney Hosts Panel on Path to Progress at the League of Municipalities

Trenton – Senate President Steve Sweeney hosted a panel on the New Jersey Path to Progress Initiative today in the Atlantic City Convention Center as a part of the New Jersey League of Municipalities’ 104th League Conference.

The panel spoke about the fiscal reality facing New Jersey and crowding out of crucial investment priorities like affordable college, NJ Transit, infrastructure and clean water if the budgetary problems are not fixed.

“New Jersey faces a dangerous reality,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “Overlapping layers of local, county and state government leaves the state chronically inefficient. Combining that with poor management of our pension system and skyrocketing health benefits costs have meant our property taxes rise every year and we don’t have the money we need to invest in the services and programs that make a difference in the lives of every day New Jerseyans.

“If we are going to fix NJ Transit, invest in making college more accessible and affordable, replace the thousands of lead-leaking service lines in the state and finally get a grip on property taxes, we need to take a 30,000 foot look at how we operate as a state. That’s why we brought together the experts and lawmakers and created the Path to Progress initiative in the first place, and it is with their recommendations that we will get New Jersey back on track.”

The panel also included Senator Steve Oroho, Dr. Marc Pfeiffer, the Assistant Director of the Bloustein Local Government Research Center at Rutgers Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and Gary Passanante, Mayor of Somerdale Borough and Executive Board Member of the New Jersey League of Municipalities.

“Implementing the Path to Progress would create massive opportunities for local governments to better provide for their residents,” said Marc Pfeiffer. “A major issue plaguing New Jerseyans is high property taxes, and executing the Path to Progress would allow for local governments to give meaningful and actual property tax relief to their residents.”

In early 2018, the New Jersey Legislature created an Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup in an effort to identify ways to address soaring pension and health benefits costs, hold down property taxes, make state and local government and school districts more efficient, assess the equity and efficiency of our state and local tax structure, leverage the value of state assets, and mitigate the negative impact of the federal tax law that targeted high cost states.

After months of analysis, the Path to Progress was the final report created by the Workgroup.