A Primer for New Jersey Budget and Tax Levy Caps

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1 New Jersey Education Association Division of Research & Economic Services Rich Brown Associate Director Research & Economic Services June 2010 A Primer for New Jersey Budget and Tax Levy Caps Primer on NJ Budget and Tax Levy Caps.doc Page 1

2 I. Introduction A Property Tax Levy Cap (levy cap) was created by Legislative bill A-1 and passed into law as Chapter 62, P.L which is a temporary law effective for fiscal years through Prior to the Levy Cap local governmental units (municipalities, counties, and school districts) were subject to appropriation limits through the budget process. These appropriation limits are sometimes referred to as Budget Caps. This primer is intended to explain, in diagrammatical terms, how the temporary Property Tax Levy Cap and prior Budget Caps are implemented. Illustrations of the caps for school districts, municipalities, and counties are provided. In addition, tax levy growth charts and trend lines are included from 2002 through 2009 to illustrate the effects of the tax levy caps (beginning ) on counties, municipalities, and school districts. II. Outline A. SCHOOL DISTRICTS A1. The LEVY CAP for School Districts A2. The BUDGET CAP for School Districts B. MUNICIPALITIES B1. The LEVY CAP for Municipalities B2. The BUDGET CAP for Municipalities C. COUNTIES C1. The Levy CAP for Counties D. WORKSHEET EAMPLES for School and Municipal E. EFFECTS OF TA LEVY CAP on growth of property taxes Primer on NJ Budget and Tax Levy Caps.doc Page 2

3 A. SCHOOL DISTRICTS A1. THE SCHOOL DISTRICT TA LEVY CAP The Property Tax Levy Cap law (P.L. 2007, c. 62) is effective for school years through The Levy Cap law supersedes certain aspects of the Spending Growth Limitation Adjustments (SGLAs) of the Comprehensive Educational Improvement and Financing Act of 1996 (CEIFA). The School Funding Reform Act of 2008 (SFRA) amended the CEIFA funding law and changed the allowable SGLAs and other provisions of the law. What is the School District Levy? The school district tax levy is the revenue determined by a school district board of education or board of school estimate as necessary to support local spending for schools. Revenues to support School District budgets include the General Fund tax levy, Debt Service tax levy, State Aid, and miscellaneous other revenue. Only the General Fund tax levy is subject to the tax levy cap. How is the School District Levy Cap Calculated? The General Fund Tax Levy is allowed to increase by 4.0% of the prior year Adjusted General Fund Tax Levy plus enrollment increases and adjustments for Health Care costs and Reduction in Total State Formula Aid. The Adjusted General Fund Tax Levy includes any permanent cap waivers or permanent separate proposals approved for the prior year. Districts may also apply to the Commissioner for cap waivers or propose separate proposals to the voters to exceed the cap. Separate proposals require 60% voter approval which are final with no appeal. Example: NET BUDGET: PRIOR YEAR ADJUSTED GENERAL FUND TA LEVY INCREASE IN WEIGHTED ENROLLMENT Prior year per Pupil Tax Levy 1.04 HEALTH CARE COSTS ECEEDING 4% UPTO THE Average Percentage Increase Of the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) DECREASE IN TOTAL STATE FORMULA AID Equalization Aid, Education Adequacy Aid, Adjustment Aid, School Choice Aid, Categorical Special Education Aid, Categorical Security Aid, Categorical Transportation Aid, and Preschool Education Aid STATE AID, DESIGNATED GENERAL FUND BALANCE, MISCELLANEOUS GENERAL FUND REVENUES COMMISIONER CAP WAIVERS or SEPARATE PROPOSALS Energy costs>4%, capital outlay>4%, non-recurring G.F. revenue, insurance costs >4%, hazardous busing >4%, special education >$40,000 per pupil, tuition charged to a sending district >4%, new school opening, not meeting core curriculum content standards Primer on NJ Budget and Tax Levy Caps.doc Page 3

4 A2. THE SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGET CAP The Comprehensive Educational Improvement and Financing Act (CEIFA) and subsequent amendments of S- 1701, signed into law on July 1, 2004, changed several areas relating to school district budgeting. The S-1701 law revised the base budget spending cap and applicable spending growth limitation adjustments (SGLAs) from the greater of 3% or CPI, down to the greater of 2.5% or CPI. For , the CPI was 4.04%. For to present, the Levy Cap applies. What is the School District Budget Cap? The Budget Cap under CEIFA and S-1701 amendments applies a growth limit of 2.5% or CPI, whichever is greater to the school district NET BUDGET (also referred to as the BASE BUDGET). How is the School District Budget Cap Calculated? The School District NET BUDGET is allowed to increase by 2.5% or CPI, whichever is greater plus: a) statutory spending growth limitation adjustments, b) Commissioner approved adjustments, and c) separate proposals for non- T&E purposes presented to the voters for additional funds. Example: NET BUDGET: GENERAL FUND TA LEVY or COUNTY TA LEVY (Vocational Districts) BUDGETED FUND BALANCE MISCELLANEOUS LOCAL REVENUE (greater of) 2.5% or CPI STATE FORMULA AID and STATE CATEGORICAL AID STATUTORY ADJUSTMENTS Enrollment changes, capital outlay costs, non-remote pupil transportation, special education costs in excess of $40,000 per pupil, opening a new school facility COMISSIONER ADJUSTMENTS Tuition increase charged a sending district, temporary cap adjustment for an increase in certain insurance and domestic security preparedness costs SEPARATE PROPOSALS (VOTER APPROVED) Primer on NJ Budget and Tax Levy Caps.doc Page 4

5 B. MUNICIPALITIES B1. THE MUNICIPAL TA LEVY CAP The Property Tax Levy Cap law (P.L. 2007, c. 62) establishes a formula that limits increases in the amount to be raised by taxation for the municipal budget. The law also applies to existing municipal solid waste districts and for fire districts. The only exceptions to the levy cap are municipalities that have a municipal purpose tax rate of $0.10 or less for the previous tax year. The Levy Cap is designed to expire after five years (after FY 2012) at which time the Legislature may consider extending or modifying it. On or before January 15, 2012, the New Jersey Tax and Fiscal Policy Study Commission created by P.L.2007, c.43 (C.52:9H-39 et seq.) shall report to the Governor and Legislature, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52: ), evaluating the efficacy of the tax levy caps and making recommendations. For municipalities, the Levy Cap is in addition to the existing appropriations (BUDGET) cap. EAMPLE: PRIOR YEAR TA LEVY FOR MUNICIPAL PURPOSES MINUS ONE YEAR WAIVERS and PRIOR YEAR capital Improvement Fund & Down Payments, Deferred Charges to Future Taxation Unfunded, Recycling Tax 1.04 /MINUS CHANGES IN SERVICE PROVIDER AND ADJUSTMENTS ECLUSIONS Lease and Debt Service change (+/-), State formula Aid loss Allowable Pension increases, Uncollected Tax Reserve increase > 4%, Health Care increase > 4% up to SHBP average increase, Recycling Tax appropriation, Capital Improvement Fund and/or Down Payment on Improvements, Deferred Charges to Future Taxation Unfunded LESS: Cancelled or Unexpended Waivers or Exclusions ADDITIONS New Ratables (New Construction and Additions) x Prior Year Tax Rate/$100, Local Finance Board Statewide Blanket Waivers, Waiver Application Amounts, Amounts approved by Referendum Note: The above Tax Levy Cap cannot exceed Appropriations (BUDGET) Cap Primer on NJ Budget and Tax Levy Caps.doc Page 5

6 B2. THE APPROPRIATIONS (BUDGET) CAP The Municipal budget must be introduced as cap compliant which means that the budget must be at or under cap for all cap requirements (i.e., the municipal appropriation and levy caps). 1) ALLOWABLE OPERATING APPROPRIATIONS WITHIN CAP: BASE PRIOR YEAR GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS CAP BASE ADJUSTMENTS Public Employees Retirement System payments LESS ECEPTIONS Interlocal Service Agreements, Public/Private Programs, Capital Improvements, Debt Service, Deferred Charges, Judgments, Reserve for Uncollected Taxes, Additional Appropriations, Other Operations cap C.O.L.A. ADDITIONAL ECEPTIONS New Assessments Prior Year Tax Rate/$100 Assessed Value and any Banked Cap use 2) TA LEVY CAP: APPROPRIATIONS (Used within Allowable Appropriations Cap) APPROPRIATIONS ECLUDED FROM CAPS for certain municipal purposes and Local School District Purposes in Municipal Budget Reserve for Uncollected Taxes LESS Anticipated Revenues from Other Than Property Taxes (i.e. Surplus, Misc. Revenues, and Delinquent Taxes) EQUALS Amounts to be Raised by Taxes for Support of Municipal Budget Primer on NJ Budget and Tax Levy Caps.doc Page 6

7 C. COUNTIES C1. THE COUNTY TA LEVY CAP In preparation of county budgets, a county may not increase the county tax levy to be apportioned among its constituent municipalities in excess of 2.5% or the cost-of-living adjustment, whichever is less, of the previous year s county tax levy, subject to exceptions. PRIOR YEAR COUNTY TA LEVY or C.P.I. (whichever is less) ECEPTIONS Revenue from New Construction or Improvements Capital Expenditures Emergency Temporary Appropriations (health, safety, property endangerment) All Debt Service Contract payments (water, sewerage, parking, senior citizen housing) Lease payments of county improvement authority owned facility Funding to participate in any federal or State aid program (matching funds) Extraordinary expenses (required to implement interlocal service agreements) Mandated expenditures (natural disaster, civil disturbance, other emergency) Mandated services costs (court, federal, State statute, etc.) County college funding (in excess of county tax levy required in 1992) Administration of general public assistance expenditures Amounts expended on tick-borne disease vector management Interlocal services agreement amounts (Interlocal Services Act) Joint contract amounts (Consolidated Municipal Service Act) Amounts for liability, workers compensation, and employee group insurance (1 st three yrs after P.L.2003,c92) Expenditures for the State Recycling Fund Primer on NJ Budget and Tax Levy Caps.doc Page 7

8 D. SAMPLE SCHOOL DISTRICT AND MUNICIPAL TA CAP CALCULATION Summary Levy Cap Calculation SCHOOL DISTRICT COUNTY AMOUNTS Model Tax Levy Calculation Worksheet Levy Cap Calculation Prebudget Year Adjusted Tax Levy $32,150,625 Less: Non-Permanent Waivers Less: Non-Permanent Separate Proposals $400,000 Plus: Adjustment for Districts w/st. Aid Increases > of CPI or 2% Plus: Wtd. Enrollment Increase x PreBudget per pupil Tax Levy $118,406 Prebudget Year Adjusted Tax Levy, Including Wtd. Increase for Enrollment $31,869,031 Plus: 4% Cap increase $1,274,761 Adjustment for Increase in Health Care Costs $100,000 Adjustment for Reduction in Total State Formula Aid From Prebudget Year $400,000 Adjusted Tax Levy Prior to Waivers/Separate Proposals $33,643,792 Requests for Commissioner Waivers: Increase in Capital Outlay $20,000 Increase in Spec. Educ. Costs Over $40,000 per pupil $50,000 New School Costs $0 Increase in Energy Costs $50,000 Increase in Insurance Costs $10,000 Increase in Transportation Costs, Hazardous Routes $10,000 Increase in Tuition Costs $0 Not Meeting CCCS under QSAC $0 Non-recurring Gen. Fund Revenues $0 Other Waiver Requests $0 Total Commissioner Waivers: $140,000 Maximum Allowable Amount to be Raised by Taxation * $33,783,792 Amount to be Raised by Taxation for School Purposes $33,000,000 * The tax levy recorded on line 150 of the budgeted revenues cannot exceed the Maximum Allowable Amount to be Raised by Taxation, unless the result of a merged separate proposal. Additional levy increases must be proposed separately to the voters or board Primer on NJ Budget and Tax Levy Caps.doc Page 8

9 Summary Levy Cap Calculation MUNICIPALITY COUNTY AMOUNTS Tax Levy Calculation Worksheet Levy Cap Calculation Prior Year Amount to be Raised by Taxation for Municipal Purposes $47,985,468 Less: One Year Waivers Less: Prior Year Capital Improvement Fund & Down Payments $400,000 Less: Prior Year Deferred Charges to Future Taxation Unfunded Less: Prior Year Recycling Tax $118,406 Changes in Service Provider and Adjustments (+/-) $959,709 Net Prior Year Tax Levy for Municipal Purpose Tax for Cap Calculation $48,426,769 Plus: 4% Cap increase $1,937,071 Adjusted Tax Levy Prior to Exclusions $50,363,840 Exclusions: Change in debt service and existing county leases (+/-) -$598,434 Offsets to State formula aid loss $2,183,255 Allowable pension increases $385,653 Allowable increase in Reserve for Uncollected Taxes $3,882,398 Allowable increase in health care costs $1,282,426 Recycling Tax appropriation $150,000 Capital Improvement Fund and/or Down Payment on Improvements $845,000 Deferred Charges to Future Taxation Unfunded Add Total Exclusions $8,130,298 Less Cancelled or Unexpended Waivers Less Cancelled or Unexpended Exclusions $6,376 Adjusted Tax Levy $58,487,762 Additions: New Ratables - Increase in Valuations (New Construction and Additions) $65,191,100 Prior Year's Local Municipal Purpose Tax Rate (per $100) $0.275 New Ratable Adjustment to Levy $179,276 LFB Approved Statewide Blanket Waivers Amounts approved by Referendum Waiver application amount Maximum Allowable Amount to be Raised by Taxation $58,667,037 Amount to be Raised by Taxation for Municipal Purposes * $58,422,699 * Determined by Budget Cap Limits Primer on NJ Budget and Tax Levy Caps.doc Page 9

10 E. EFFECTS OF TA LEVY CAP (On GROWTH of property taxes) E1. COUNTY (Tax Levy Growth) County Tax Levy GROWTH 9.0% 8.0% 7.0% 6.0% 5.0% 4.0% 3.0% 2.0% 1.0% 0.0% 7.8% 6.6% 5.9% 6.0% 5.5% 5.5% 4.9% 2.8% y = x E2. MUNICIPAL (Tax Levy Growth) Municipal Tax Levy GROWTH 10.0% 9.0% 8.0% 7.0% 6.0% 5.0% 4.0% 3.0% 2.0% 1.0% 0.0% 5.2% 7.5% 6.8% 7.5% 8.4% 7.7% 8.7% y = 0.001x % Primer on NJ Budget and Tax Levy Caps.doc Page 10

11 E3. SCHOOL DISTRICT (Tax Levy Growth) School Tax Levy GROWTH 9.0% 8.0% 7.0% 6.0% 5.0% 4.0% 3.0% 2.0% 1.0% 0.0% 8.3% 7.5% 6.7% 6.2% 6.3% 5.0% 3.0% 2.7% y = x E4. TOTAL (Tax Levy Growth) TOTAL Tax Levy GROWTH 9.0% 8.0% 7.0% 6.0% 5.0% 4.0% 3.0% 2.0% 1.0% 0.0% 7.0% 7.6% 6.5% 6.5% 6.9% 5.8% 4.9% y = x % NOTE: Tax Levy Growth Charts include tax levy for Debt Service (THE TA LEVY CAP BEGAN and is effective through ) Primer on NJ Budget and Tax Levy Caps.doc Page 11

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