Government agencies release a lot of statistical information about local finances, much of which is on the Web. But this raw statistical information is often difficult to comprehend.

The goal of this site is to gather as much public information on property taxes available and tie it together in an easy-to-use package. Some of the material on this site is essential raw information with a user-friendly interface. Other material is based on the analysis of Star-Ledger reporters and their expert sources.

Where does it all come from? There is a more complete list of links to New Jersey data on the Web elsewhere on this site, but here's a run-down on the primary sources

The state's Division of Local Government Services publishes extensive data on property taxes for each town. The DCA also provided data on local government revenue sources in response to an Open Records Act request.

The Star-Ledger's database of property ownership and home sales comes from the Treasury Department's Division of Taxation. The information is collected by the government for regulatory purposes, and the Star-Ledger obtains the information on CD-ROM each year and maintains a historical archive.

Data on school spending was obtained from the Department of Education, which maintains an extensive collection of school statistics online. However, much of the published school financial data is adjusted by the agency to help educators make fairer comparisons among districts. For the Star-Ledger's Taxation & Spending analysis, unpublished data taken directly from school budgets was obtained through an Open Records Request.

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