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.
New Jersey Future’s 2017 gubernatorial platform recommends targeted smart-growth investments and strategies to help accelerate New Jersey’s economic growth.
Sixth of a series of articles detailing strategies coastal states are examining in order to plan for sea-level rise. This article addresses the use of special tax districts to provide risk-related services to flood-vulnerable areas.
The 23-cent gas tax increase is a good start toward sustainable transportation funding, but it will only benefit the state if we can allocate it to the right things.
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.
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
- New Jersey Future 2017 Gubernatorial Platform
- 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