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
Crumbling water infrastructure in Hoboken.
Opinion: We Can’t Afford the Price We Pay for Cheap Water

The cost of our drinking water is too low to cover the cost of upgrading the pipes and systems that deliver it to us.

The Camden waterfront, where Lockheed Martin will be relocating. Photo: Flickr user Todd Mecklem
Economic Opportunity Act Retains Incentives’ Focus on Smart-Growth Locations

An examination by New Jersey Future shows that the state’s new business incentive programs are largely effective at following state plan guidelines and directing job growth to smart-growth areas.

Henry-Coleman-headshot-2011
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.

NJTransit
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.

Articles and Stories
The Camden waterfront, where Lockheed Martin will be relocating. Photo: Flickr user Todd Mecklem
New Jersey’s Economic Opportunity Act and Smart Growth: A Progress Report

The Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 included additional incentives for projects destined for “smart-growth” areas. This report analyzes how effective the updated incentives have been at directing growth to those areas. December 2014.

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.

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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.

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Reports, Presentations and Testimony

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