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The Boss

By David Dayton McKean
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

The Chamber of Commerce named no names, but any inquirer in Jersey City may obtain from real-estate brokers lists as long as he may wish of properties sold and offered for sale at a half or a third of their assessed valuations; of properties assessed at two and three times what they cost; and of properties on which taxes take more than the annual gross income. A state-wide survey recently reported by the State Chamber of Commerce showed that `in Jersey City as much as seven and a half months' rent out of a year's gross rental income is taken for taxes.'

Just as taxes have climbed since Frank Hague has been mayor, so have assessments. While the city increased a third in population, assessments doubled. From 1930 to 1938 assessments in New Jersey, exclusive of Jersey City, declined 15 per cent; in Jersey City they declined 7 per cent. But in 1939 they were pushed up fifty-eight million dollars to an all-time high at $645,010,000.

The result of this great, and constantly increasing, burden of taxation has been a steady increase in tax delinquencies. Unpaid taxes for the years since 1934 as of November 30, 1939, were shown by the comptroller's report:

Year Amount Delinquent Percentage
1934 $1,899,404 7.49
1935 2,196,052, 8.32
1936 2,612,679 9.35
1937 2,917,001 11.10
1938 4,399,008 15.76

The taxes for 1939 were even more in arrears, for the 1940 budget, as required by the state law, set up an appropriation of $9,753,648 as a reserve for uncollected taxes.


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