Trenton's property tax threatens to overwhelm us





by Dan Dodson

Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer is talking out of both sides of his mouth on the issue of subprime mortgages ("There's no place like home -- City mayor discusses mortgage aid options," Trenton Times, Jan. 17). In one breath, he bemoans the struggles of homeowners to pay their mortgages and in the next, he raises property taxes ("Trenton to hike property taxes by 5.2 pct.," Trenton Times,Jan. 4).

In Trenton, the property-tax rate is almost as high as the prevailing mortgage rate. While mortgage rates are going down under 6 percent, under Mayor Palmer's leadership, property-tax rates have risen to well over 4 percent of assessed value. In fact, for some older homeowners, their property-tax bill can be higher than their mortgage.

The property-tax carnage isn't over yet. Trentonians pay only 10 percent of their school costs, and now the rest of the state is finally balking at picking up the tab for Abbott districts such as Trenton. Trenton's tax rate could double if we had to pay even 30 percent of our own school bill ("Trenton faces huge tax increase," Trenton Times, Jan. 9).

Trentonians should not be lulled into complacency by the mayor's sympathetic words. He's done more to bankrupt property owners than any bank.

-- DAN DODSON, Trenton

The writer is a Leadership Trenton fellow.

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Copyright 2008, Dan Dodson