Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces


Tax Policies

New Jersey’s fragmented system of local governance and its disproportionate reliance on property taxes for funding local services (particularly schools) combine to create incentives that have powerful, distorting effects on land-use decision-making.

Because municipalities are so often on their own to pay for local schools (regional, multi-municipality K-12 school districts are the exception, not the rule), every municipality has an incentive to adopt zoning that discourages any residential development that might attract new schoolchildren and hence require a hike in property tax rates.  Instead, municipalities compete for the limited number of “clean ratables,” such as office parks and shopping malls, that their region can sustain.  This results in the sub-optimal location of major projects and a self-reinforcing downward spiral of disinvestment for those municipalities that are unable to score these major projects, as rising tax rates continue to chase away the more prosperous residents and businesses.

Future Facts
New Jersey Future To Honor Trustee Henry A. Coleman

A cocktail reception Oct. 30 will honor longtime New Jersey Future trustee Henry A. Coleman for his many contributions to various organizations and to the state of New Jersey.

Statehouse slideshow
Key Issues: Divergent Views on Jobs and the Economy

This is the latest in a series of articles from our friends at NJ Spotlight laying out the critical policy challenges that the next governor and Legislature will face, as well as their positions on these issues.

Key Issues: A Hefty Pricetag for Rail Tunnel, Transportation Projects

This is the first in a series of articles from our friends at NJ Spotlight laying out the critical policy challenges that the next governor and Legislature will face, as well as their positions on these issues.

Statehouse slideshow
Four Key Issues for New Jersey’s Future

Unless we focus on difficult, long-term issues, we risk making New Jersey less competitive and hindering our future growth and prosperity.

Statehouse slideshow
New Legislation Changes the Smart Growth Playing Field

Two new pieces of legislation, dealing with economic incentives and non-condemnation in redevelopment areas, offer opportunities to focus New Jersey’s development in smart-growth areas.

Articles and Stories
Targeting Transit
Targeting Transit: Assessing Development Opportunities Around New Jersey’s Transit Stations

New Jersey has 243 transit facilities, ranging from small single-track stations to major multi-line hubs. The unique characteristics of each station, of its immediate neighborhood, and of its surrounding municipality mean that a wide variety of development strategies should be brought to bear in order to maximize each location’s potential. This report shows how data assembled by New Jersey Future can be used to make decisions on how to target various kinds of transit-oriented development efforts. September 2012.

Smart Growth FAQ

Some frequently-asked questions about how smart growth would affect New Jersey’s future development, including how it affects traffic, taxes, and land preservation.

Chasing Their Tails: Municipal Ratables Chase Doesn’t Necessarily Pay

Research that examines whether the popular belief is true that municipalities with the highest concentrations of commercial properties also tend to have the lowest residential property tax rates. July 2010.

Achieving Genuine Prosperity
Achieving Genuine Prosperity

An examination of the problems caused by recent development patterns in New Jersey, and recommended steps to address them through smart-growth principles. April 2001.

New Jersey Future Op-Ed Button
State’s Tax Structure Warps Land-Use Decisions

Oct. 12, 2009 — A recent Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll offers some surprising insights into what New Jersey residents are willing to do to address the problem of high property taxes—including taking some significant steps that would improve the way land-use decisions are made, and allow for more regional governance and cost-sharing.

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Reports, Presentations and Testimony

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