Municipal politicians are all talking about the eroding tax base and the subsequent tax increases due to Hurricane Sandy. Well, what are they doing about it besides talking?
Why can't they start thinking outside the box instead of only about the next election. How about tax abatements? This is not new - towns offer them to businesses to get them to come into a town or to stay.
Here is an example of a plan for homeowners:
Say that prior to Sandy a property was assessed at $250,000 but because of damage from Sandy is now valued at $75,000, resulting in a loss to the tax base that must be made up by remaining taxpayers.
If the property owner rebuilds a raised home, that would be assessed at, say, $375,000.
Why not let this homeowner pay taxes only on the original assessment of $250,000 for the first year, with the tax assessment increased by 25 percent a year for the next three years until the full tax assessment is being paid?
This is a win-win for the town. The homeowners who have paid increased taxes to compensate for the lost tax base will see their taxes go down. The homeowner who has rebuilt with a tax incentive will have recovered additional funds to complete the project.
If existing laws don't allow for this type of tax abatement, change them. The local politicians should get together with their state representatives and the governor and make it happen
EDWARD L. GAUTIER
Little Egg Harbor Township