Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer has recently proposed expanding and extending New Jersey’s online purchasing program that has become a successful revenue tool for local governments and property taxpayers.
Since 2001, New Jersey has been conducting a pilot program that allows local governments to use the Internet to sell surplus supplies and equipment, purchase electricity and natural gas, or accept online bids and quotes for goods and services. However, the successful program would terminate as soon as the state submits a report assessing its effectiveness, according to provisions of the 2001 law.
“E-commerce is efficient and effective for taxpayers,” Dancer said. “If anything, this program was ahead of its time because it took a few years before local governments have been able to maximize its potential to get great deals for property taxpayers. It makes no sense to pull the plug on this program as soon as we have a report that will most likely confirm that online bidding is not the wave of the future. It’s a way to benefit property taxpayers right now.”
According to the Department of Community Affairs’ Division of Local Government Services:
Merchantville received $7,500 for an old fire pumper truck sold on E-Bay after a traditional auction received a bid of just $1,200, below the trade-in value. The increased revenue helped reduce the property tax rate.
Local government entities have sold more than $9 million worth of surplus property since January of this year through just one of the eight vendors approved for selling surplus property.
There has also been interest in increasing in online purchasing, especially since the state deregulated energy purchasing. The state has approved four vendors for selling electricity and natural gas, with several more pending.
“The Internet has become a virtual swap meet offering taxpayers the benefits of supply and demand,” Dancer said. “Selling high and buying low equals greater relief for property taxpayers that can be multiplied further.”
Dancer’s proposal, A-3441, would extend and expand the program for another three years allowing time to decide whether to make the program permanent, as well as eliminate the wording of the 2001 law that would have automatically terminated the popular E-Procurement program when the state submitted its report to the governor and legislature.
The legislation would expand the items towns could buy or sell such as construction and public works equipment and services and computers and information technology services. The proposal would ease the administrative burden by requiring vendors, instead of government agencies, to apply to participate.