Sunday Main Course: Hard 2.5% Cap

The Record has a scoop: Christie will propose on Tuesday a constitutional amendment limiting school and municipality tax increases to a hard cap of 2.5%. His budget address will also cut state aid about 9%.

Unlike the current 4 percent limit, the new "hard" 2.5 percent cap on municipal, school and county property tax levies would be all-encompassing, without exceptions for such essentials as rising health insurance or debt payments. The tax could be raised higher only if local voters grant their approval in referendums. The state also would be constitutionally barred from increasing its own spending on direct state services by more than 2.5 percent per year.

At the same time, the officials said, Christie will propose other reforms that could help local officials control spending, including changes to the pensions and benefits of current public employees, and collective bargaining negotiations for police, fire and teacher contracts, and the civil service system.