New Jersey’s property taxes are wildly out-of-control but here’s an unbelievable example of just how bad things have gotten. Egg Harbor Township’s Mayor, James “Sonny” McCullough, says he cannot afford to live in his home anymore.
Why? After a recent revaluation Mayor McCullough’s property taxes skyrocketed some 60% to over $31,000 a year! McCullough and his wife have lived in their home since 1985 but now have no choice but to sell.
“It’s more than what I can afford,” the mayor told the newspaper. “It’s kind of disappointing. I thought I would be able to live and die in my home, but it’s gotten to the point where it’s gotten up so high.”
Mayor McCullough said he would like to find a smaller property with lower taxes in town but if that didn’t work out his family might permanently relocate to Florida where they already own a home.
Of course, the property taxes on the McCullough’s Florida residence are exponentially lower (just $2,569 a year) and there’s also no state income tax. It’s difficult to complain about the year-round beach weather as well.
Earlier in Gov. Christie’s term the Legislature passed a 2% cap on property taxes. While the cap itself is quite flawed (it does not cap health care costs, for example; a major expense for municipalities), the cap has no bearing on revaluations. Many New Jersey homeowners have still seen property taxes increase far more than 2% as the estimated value of their homes has gone up.
There was a time not long ago in New Jersey that a person could work hard, save their money, play by the rules and reap the benefits in their golden years of a lifetime of achievement—and then pass that inheritance along to their loved ones.
As Mayor McCullough’s example shows, that is no longer the case. New Jersey’s high property taxes are now destroying the American Dream here and it’s a major reason so many people are deciding to leave.