Jersey City Council poised to ask governor & legislature to help enforce payroll tax


The Jersey City Council is poised to vote on a resolution asking the governor and state legislature to take action that would allow them to enforce their payroll tax.

A photo from the November 20th, 2018 Jersey City Council meeting where the governing body approved a 1 percent payroll tax.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“… This is just a commitment from the city council, along with the board of education, to make sure that things are being collected and we are talking jointly with the state to support each other, particularly with the payroll tax, but other things as well,” Ward B Mira Prinz-Arey, the resolution sponsor, said at yesterday’s caucus.

The measure notes that while the payroll tax, a one percent tax on local businesses that is then allocated to the BOE, was initially projected to secure $86 million a year for the public schools.

However, that has only happened twice since the city council approved the measure on November 20th, 2018, according to the resolution before the governing body.

For the 2019-2020 scholastic year, the payroll tax was good for $30.6 million, followed by the anticipated $86 million in the next two budget cycles.

Then for the past two budget cycles (2022-2023 and 2023-2024), the payroll tax brought in $65 million for the Jersey City Public Schools.

The measure has been a bit of a conundrum for local elected leaders in recent memory, with declared mayoral candidates beginning to try to come up with some solutions.

The resolution also points out that the Jersey City BOE has lost approximately $276 million as a result of the state’s school funding formula since 2018 and is asking for Trenton lawmakers to intervene to make the situation right.

“The City Council is calling for a joint effort with the Jersey City Board of Education requesting that the Legislature and the Governor enact legislation granting the JCBOE and the Council the authority to enforce the ordinance and providing the funds necessary to conduct an independent fiscal audit of the covered employers/businesses identified by the Tax Assessor,” the local legislation says.

BOE President Dejon Morris said the BOE has put forth essentially the same resolution in hopes of collaborating with their Trenton representatives in short order.

“Both resolutions from the city and JCBOE will be presented to the Hudson County legislative delegation in order to amend the current law on the books. I have a meeting scheduled June 17th with city officials, state officials and JCBOE to have a face to face meeting in order to make changes to the current legislation,” he said in an email.”

“The councilwoman has been very helpful and we are bridging the gap and working together. The mayor is also working with JCBOE.”

The governor’s office and the spokesman for the New Jersey Senate Democrats did not return emails seeking comment, while a spokesman for the New Jersey Assembly Majority Office declined to comment.

The Jersey City Council convenes for a public session tomorrow at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 280 Grove St., and the meeting will also stream live on Microsoft Teams.


Editor’s note: This story was updated with a comment from BOE President Dejon Morris. 

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