I would like to add some perspective to the energy-tax debate as it pertains to Upper Township.

From 1990 to 1993, I was responsible for the calculation and payment of what was then known as the Gross Receipts and Franchise Taxes for the local electric utility.

In researching the law and in conversations with a deputy director of the Division of Taxation, I came to find out that Upper Township could, at the time, increase its share by $500,000 a year if it enacted a local purpose tax of at least 10 cents for three years.

The township didn't get 100 percent of the energy-tax money because the state considered the lack of a local purpose tax an indication that the township was not in a "hardship" situation.

Upper was actually being penalized - so a local purpose tax for three years that could have funded capital improvements (all of which were eventually done anyway) would have, in fact, boosted the base amount in perpetuity.

Of course, the local yokels scoffed at this idea: "What? Raise a tax to get more tax?" they howled. Yes, Virginia, it would have worked before the conversion to what is now the Energy Tax.

The factor that really prevented Upper from pursuing this was that former Mayor Drew McCrosson had the township join a group called "Municipalities For A Fair Share," with the agreement that no one would challenge the current distribution for the good of the order, so that all would keep their share of the pie.

Anyway, now Upper has a local purpose tax and complains about being shorted by the state. But let's see ... half a million dollars from 1996 to now would be at least $8 million. That's what has been left on the table by the short-sightedness and fiscal ineptitude of our esteemed Township Committee.


Ocean View