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  • NJ A1733
  • Authorizes State constitutional convention to reform system of property taxation; makes appropriation.
Introduced
(1/27/2016)
In Committee
(1/27/2016)
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill implements many of the recommendations of the New Jersey Property Tax Convention Task Force. It provides for convening a State constitutional convention for the sole purpose of reforming, pursuant to the requirements and limitations specified by this bill, the system of property taxation in this State. The bill places the question of whether a convention should be convened before the voters at the general election to be held in November 2012. The approval by the voters at that general election of the holding of a convention will confer upon the convention the authority to recommend relevant changes to the State Constitution and changes to the New Jersey statutes. The convention's recommendations for changes to the State Constitution and changes to the New Jersey statutes would be presented to the voters as a single package for their approval at the general election held in November 2013; except that, if a temporary constitutional amendment authorizing the convention to propose statutory changes for voter approval is not placed on the ballot at the 2012 general election, the convention may anticipate that such a constitutional amendment may be placed on the 2013 general election ballot at the same time as the convention's proposal and the convention, at its discretion, may structure its proposal so that, if the constitutional amendment fails to receive voter approval, the convention's entire proposal will also fail, or any constitutional amendments proposed by the convention and approved by the voters, but not statutory changes, will be adopted. Thus, statutory changes proposed by the convention will become effective if a separate temporary constitutional amendment authorizing the convention to propose statutory changes for voter approval is adopted not later than the general election at which the voters approve the convention's proposal. The bill provides that at the annual school election in April 2013, two delegates to the convention will be elected from each of the 40 legislative districts, for a total of 80 elected delegates. The names of candidates for the office of delegate on the ballot will rotate in successive election districts in order to limit any potential impact of ballot position on voter choice. A nominee for election of the office of delegate would not be bracketed with any other candidate on the ballot and no designation, slogan or affiliation for a nominee would be printed on the ballot. The bill limits the amount of a contribution to a candidate for the office of delegate from any contributor to $250 with a limit of $6,250 in the aggregate on contributions to all candidates for the office of delegate. Delegates would be nominated by a petition signed by at least 100 registered voters of the district from which the delegate seeks election. Local elected officials would be eligible to serve as delegates, but members of the Legislature would be ineligible to be elected, or to serve, as delegates. Labor organizations and corporations would be prohibited from contributing to the campaigns of candidates for the office of delegate. The bill establishes a voluntary limit of $25,000 on expenditures made in connection with a candidacy for the office of delegate. Any candidate, or any committee, group or organization in support of that candidate, that pledges to expend, and expends, less than that amount in connection with that candidate's candidacy may include on its campaign materials a statement indicating that the candidate, committee, group, or organization has complied with the voluntary campaign expenditure limit. Any candidate for the office of delegate, or any committee, group or organization in support of that candidate, that expends more than $25,000 in connection with that candidate's candidacy would be required to include on all subsequent campaign materials a statement indicating that the candidate, committee, group, or organization has exceeded the voluntary campaign expenditure limit. In addition to the 80 elected delegates to the convention, 10 additional delegates will be appointed, two each by the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Minority Leader of the Senate, the Speaker of the General Assembly, and the Minority Leader of the General Assembly. These appointments will be made within ten days of the certification of the results of the election for delegates. In making the appointments, the appointing authorities will take into consideration this State's demographic diversity and the degree to which that diversity is represented by the delegates elected to the convention. The convention will convene on May 8, 2013 and complete its work by August 26, 2013. The duty of the convention will be to prepare a proposal consisting of amendments to the New Jersey Constitution and, if the voters approve a temporary constitutional amendment authorizing the convention to propose statutory changes, changes to existing law, which, while revenue neutral in their overall impact, eliminate inequities in the current system of property taxation, ensure greater uniformity in the application of property taxes, reduce property taxes as a share of overall public revenue, provide alternatives which lessen the dependence of local government on property taxes, or provide alternative means, including possible increases in other taxes, of funding local government services. The bill expressly provides that the convention may not propose amendments affecting the obligation of the Legislature, under the New Jersey Constitution, to provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of free public schools or the obligation of any municipality to provide affordable housing pursuant to decisions of the New Jersey Supreme Court. In addition, the convention will not consider or recommend any proposal providing for a Statewide equalized school property tax, or detracting from collective bargaining rights or dispute resolution procedures as those rights and procedures exist on the effective date of this act, or that fails to provide tenants of residential rental units with their proportionate share of any property tax reduction, in a non-discriminatory manner, for as long as the reduction lasts. Any changes of the New Jersey statutes recommended by the convention and approved by the voters at the general election held in November 2013 will thereafter be subject to amendment or repeal by the Legislature and the Governor in the same manner as other laws. The convention is limited to considering the issue of tax reform. It may not consider any other issues. The bill directs the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court to appoint a committee of three retired members of the Judiciary, no more than two of whom shall be of the same political party, that will review proposals prepared by the convention during the course of the convention's proceedings and advise the convention whether such proposals are in compliance with the convention's instructions as voted by the people and do not exceed those instructions or the convention's limited purpose in any way. The convention will not take a vote on its final proposal to be placed on the ballot for voter approval unless the committee has certified that the convention has complied with its instructions and not exceeded those instructions or its limited purpose. The bill directs the Legislative Services Commission to undertake certain research tasks in advance of the convention, as well as during the convention, and to recruit qualified employees who may be employed by the convention. The bill appropriates $3,845,000 to effectuate its purposes.
Judiciary
Introduced, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee  (on 1/27/2016)
 
 

Date Chamber Action Description
1/27/2016 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
None specified