There is a Congressman from New Jersey who is worth $7,000,000, and who gets a tax break on his land that is worth at least $200,000 a year. He avoid the tax by the presence of four donkeys.
He pays $61,000 a year in property taxes for three acres and his home. He pays $120 a year in taxes for 20 acres to provide living space for four four donkeys.
He calls the 20 acres a farm. It gets tax breaks. Big tax breaks.
The Congressman bought his property for about $1,000,000 in 2000.
To qualify for a New Jersey farmland assessment, a resident must own a minimum of five acres of arable land and generate at least $500 in income from agricultural products or livestock. . . .
Runyan almost lost the farmland tax break in January 2009 after Mount Laurel informed him that keeping a single donkey on his property was not sufficient to qualify his acreage as farmland.
A year later, Runyan reported keeping four donkeys and retained the tax break.
Runyan said his plan has always been to breed donkeys, an interest he developed through another breeder. Although Runyan does not use the donkeys for any agricultural purpose himself, they make good companion animals for horses and can fetch between $400 and $1,500 apiece, he said.
Let’s see. Those four donkeys are worth what? Maybe $60,000 a year in taxes?
Do they make money? No.
Instead, Runyan has met the $500 minimum requirement to keep his tax break by selling firewood. In 2010, he sold eight cords for $920, according to township records. In 2011, he sold six cords for $690.
If you ask me, the real jackasses are the taxpayers of New Jersey, who let local governments impose $60,000 a year in property taxes for a million-dollar property.