Singer, Sweeney Want NJ Taxpayers to Pay More for Broken Bail Reform Costs

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TRENTON-A new bill was introduced this week in the New Jersey State Senate to allow for tax increases to cover the added expenses of managing New Jersey’s new Bail Reform and Speedy Trial Act.   The new act which has created a well-oiled revolving door that benefits criminals and hinders law enforcement comes at a price and somebody has to pay for it.

Photos: Top: NJ Senator Steve Sweeney. Above: Robert Singer, representing Lakewood Township.

The bail reform isn’t working. It’s letting criminals go free without bail and costing local towns and courts a lot of money.  Instead of working on repealing it, two state senators want the taxpayers to pay more money to make it work.

The new act has created more paperwork for law enforcement entities and has been blamed for letting a two-time child sex offender in Little Egg Harbor walk free after sexually assaulting a child.

Now, New Jersey State Senators Steve Sweeney and Robert Singer want New Jersey taxpayers to bear the brunt of a criminal justice reform that just isn’t working.

The bill creates a one-year property tax levy cap exclusion for costs incurred by local units as a result of the implementation of bail reform pursuant to P.L.2014, c.31 (C.2A:162-15 et al.).  The bill permits counties to add bail reform expenditures incurred during calendar year 2017 to the adjusted tax levy for calendar year 2018.

The Bill was introduced on Monday.

“In November 2014, the voters approved an amendment to Article I, paragraph 11 of the New Jersey Constitution, which allows the Legislature to pass laws concerning pretrial release and pretrial detention.  P.L.2014, c.31 concerns several aspects of judicial administration,” the Singer-Sweeney bill said.  “That law establishes statutory trial deadlines for persons being detained in jail, both pre- and post-indictment; reforms the manner in which determinations for bail and other forms of criminal pre-trial release are made; provides courts with the authority to deny pre-trial release and instead order pre-trial detention; and authorizes the Judiciary to revise and supplement fees to help fund a pre-trial risk assessment and monitoring program, and other court-related programs and services.”

According to the duo, “Published news reports indicate counties have incurred new costs associated with the bail reform initiative.  Currently, such expenses are not excluded from the cap on increases in the county property tax levy.  Without this temporary levy cap exclusion, county governments may be forced to limit expenditures on local priorities in order to support the bail reform program.  Providing a levy cap exclusion will allow counties to budget for any additional costs to be incurred while maintaining local services.”

Bail reform in New Jersey has done nothing but let criminals go free and handcuff law enforcement since it was enacted on January 1st of this year, now the state wants the residents who have been exposed and endangered by this new and improve revolving door of justice to pay more to make it work.