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.
When we examine population and income migration into and out of New Jersey, it’s important to include all the factors that comprise it. The good news: Both are growing.
The New Jersey State Redevelopment and Development Plan just turned 15. It’s working, but it needs to work better.
A consortium of planning and environmental groups urged Gov. Christie to veto the so-called “Meadowlands bill.”
The cost of our drinking water is too low to cover the cost of upgrading the pipes and systems that deliver it to us.
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.
the ForwardNJ coalition offers priorities for Transportation Trust Fund. February 2015.
Both the drafting and the signing of such ill-constructed, vague and contradictory legislation is regrettable, and puts progress on many fronts at risk. February 2015.
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.
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.
Some frequently-asked questions about how smart growth would affect New Jersey’s future development, including how it affects traffic, taxes, and land preservation.
Reports, Presentations and Testimony
- Targeting Transit -- New Jersey Future
- 11/30/2011: Coalition Statement on Grow NJ Bill
- Financial Benefits of Density in Two New Jersey Downtowns 7-11 (Intern report)
- 10/14/2011: Comments: OCE Clean Energy Incentives Proposal
- Presentation: Reining In Local Budgets 05-10
- Tax Reform 09-03
- Property Tax Reform and Land Use 07-06
- Impact Fees 01-04
- Chasing Their Tails: Municipal Ratables Chase Doesn't Necessarily Pay 07-10
- Realistic Opportunity? The Distribution of Affordable Housing and Jobs in New Jersey