Conversely, hurricane Sandy is teaching us that relying on revenue
from property values as a sole means of income can be risky to municipalities as well as unfair to homeowners.
Early estimates indicate that Ocean County lost at least 2 percent of
its tax base to superstorm Sandy.
The total amount of taxable real estate in Ocean County is about $100 billion.
To date, 21 of the county’s 33 towns have reported preliminary real estate losses that total $882,752,100.
Mantoloking alone, a 0.44-square mile borough with a permanent population of about 300, has reported property losses of $440,834,362. The town, previously one of the wealthiest municipalities in the state , was all but obliterated when the Oct. 29 storm punched an inlet between the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay through the heart of the community. Catastrophic damage was sustained by 511 properties in the borough, according to the preliminary estimate.
Some of the hardest hit towns have yet to submit figures to the county for their property losses, including Toms River, Bay Head, Lavallette, Beach Haven and Ocean Gate.
The impact will be felt by mainland taxpayers who will see a shift of the tax burden as it moves away from the oceanfront.
These latest statistics should be a warning that relying on property values to fund education is not only unfair but unreliable. As property values rise, older people who have no desire to leave their homes are required to pay a higher tax on a profit that they have no tangible financial gain from.
Even those that rent an apartment are indirectly paying property taxes in the form of higher rents.
There are many other, more equitable ways, that we can fund education. We just need people in our government to take the time to care about all taxpayers and not just the elite few whose property taxes are a pittance to them, yet are a burden to the entire upper and lower middle class.