Jersey City Ward E Councilman James Solomon has unveiled a plan to combat tax increases and wasteful spending in future municipal budgets.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Jersey City’s 2022 budget was unacceptable. Jersey City residents faced harsh new tax increases, and it may get worse. For too long, we’ve allowed developers to get away with not paying their fair share while working families shoulder the burden,” Solomon said in a statement.
“Meanwhile, incompetence —from late audits to unmonitored overtime—has only ballooned. We can’t let this continue — and over the course of the next month, I’m introducing several plans and ordinances to solve our budget crisis.”
The $724.8 million municipal budget that came with an over $1,000 tax increase per home assessed at $470,000 didn’t get approved until October 18th last year. Only Solomon and Ward F Councilman Frank “Educational” Gilmore voted no.
In an editorial, Solomon reiterated why he did so, pointing to a $36 million cash deficit, overtime pay for the department of public works and police department, and slashing the “Community Crisis Program” by 75 percent, among other reasons.
In order to ensure this doesn’t happen again, the downtown councilman says he will introduce an ordinance to cut wasteful overtime spending and strengthen oversight.
The ordinance will require every department to deliver monthly reports to the council on their overtime spending and demand clear answers and timelines if city agencies miss statutory budget deadlines.
Additionally, Solomon has committed to the introduction of a “Millionaire’s Land Tax,” a new tax on developers every time they sell land.
Finally, he plans to audit every contract at the county, municipal, and school governments to ensure they do not contain illegal “boat payments.”
“Boat payments are the corrupt practice of loading contracts with excessive sick and personal days to enable the politically connected to receive ‘going-away’ payments ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars,” Solomon’s office explained.