"My property taxes have doubled," says Greenwald, who is also the former chairman of the Assembly's budget committee. "Today the same family we were 15 years ago couldn't afford my house."
The Greenwalds are hardly atypical; a poll released in June by the Stockton Polling Institute at Richard Stockton College found that 79 percent of state residents reported a property-tax increase in the last three years.
Calls for property-tax reform predate those of both Greenwald and his mother. Governors going back to Alfred Driscoll, a Haddonfield Republican who served from 1947 to 1954, have appointed or heard from special commissions or blue-ribbon bodies about property taxes.
During Gov. Thomas Kean's administration in the mid-1980s, I wrote about the New Jersey State and Local Expenditure and Revenue Policy Commission, an admirably bipartisan undertaking that yielded a memorable acronym (SLERP).
More recently, both parties have proposed ways to reduce property taxes, and Gov. Christie's administration has imposed a 2 percent cap on municipal spending increases.
But tweaks won't change the fact that state and municipal governments and school systems in New Jersey are heavily reliant upon property taxes to fund operations.
Reducing that reliance by boosting sales or income taxes in what Greenwald calls a "revenue neutral" manner would make the overall state tax burden more equitable, he says.
"Nobody is having a real conversation about how do we get there," he adds. "What that leads to are Band-Aid solutions and 30-second sound bites."
Greenwald didn't say so during our conversation in his Voorhees office, but perhaps he was remembering some of Christie's recent observations about property-tax reform.
"Garbage" was the governor's adjective for a June proposal by the New Jersey League of Municipalities that called for dramatically boosting income taxes for some residents. A month earlier, Christie called a report showing that the average New Jerseyan's property-tax burden has risen 18 percent on his nearly four-year watch "totally ridiculous."
And he and his spokespeople pretty much dismiss Greenwald as an empty suit.
Christine Leone-Zwillinger, a Haddon Heights lawyer who lives in Cherry Hill, was as of Monday the sole Republican candidate for one of the Sixth District Assembly seats held by Greenwald and his running mate, Pam Lampitt.
"The Legislature has to do something about property taxes and not just complain about it," says Leone-Zwillinger, 63, the mother of two grown children.
She is doubtful that a citizens convention would work, citing her own experience as a citizen participant in a bipartisan effort to make reform recommendations during Gov. Christie Whitman's administration.
Leone-Zwillinger sees the core problem as on the spending, not the revenue, side. And if elected in November, she says, she'll try to do something about that.
Contact Kevin Riordan at 856-779-3845 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @inqkriordan. Read the Metro columnists' blog, "Blinq," at www.philly.com/blinq.