On Dec.2, the Jersey City Council passed an ordinance protecting tenants in 2 to 4 family buildings, not owner occupied from rent increase. But just last month, property owners received a 20 percent tax increase in their 4th quarter tax bill.
Ironically, the council meeting was the same day the tax liens were published for over 5,000 property owners who are struggling to pay taxes. They don’t get any protection at all because property owners are not tenants.
What the city has done is to transfer tax increases to 1 to 4 buildings that are owner occupied, condo owners and single-family owners. They are the ones who will face the board of education shortage of $300 million, not tenants.
I told the city council there is nothing in the city’s charter to force property owners to subsidize tenants to the point that they also lose their homes. Besides, it is the city’s fault that rents are high. Just last month, the city council refinance $21 million bonds that were due to expire in years 2022 to 2027. Paying off those bonds would actually drop taxes, making the city more affordable. The city also plans on bonding an additional $13 million for terminal leave soon adding to the hundreds of millions of debt it already has.
The city council’s actions remind me of Bella Dodd, the head of the Communist Party in the US during the 1920s and 1930s. Dodd, a college professor and lawyer, wrote in her autobiography, “School of Darkness” she was reprimanded by party officials in Russia for helping a struggling property owner. They told her to only help tenants.
Any council person who advocates only for tenants are basically saying, they do not care about the struggles of the property owner so I think it is time for property owners to place their taxes in escrow and stop paying taxes because we are the forgotten people.