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Kenny Believes Progressive Property Tax Relief Is Fairest

TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Bernard F. Kenny Jr. today said he favors a progressive property tax relief formula providing the most benefits to those who pay the greatest percentage of their income toward taxes.

“I believe the threshold issue is that the most property tax relief should go to those most burdened,” said Senator Kenny after a joint legislative committee he co-chaired approved its report recommending that direct tax credits to homeowners and tenants replace the current homestead rebate program.

Seniors would have the option of receiving their $1,200 homeowner rebates or take a direct credit of the same amount and senior tenants would continue to receive their $825 rebates. All seniors would continue to receive at least as much relief as they currently receive, Senator Kenny said.

The Joint Committee on Constitutional Reform and Citizens Property Tax Convention backed the 11 recommendations released last week by Senator Kenny and Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, the other co-chairman.

The panel’s main recommendation calls for replacing the homestead rebate program with direct credits of 20 percent for as many taxpayers as resources allow.

Here are the 11 recommendations of the joint, bipartisan panel:

Recommendation 1: The current homestead rebate should be replaced by a system of credits and the benefit should be increased to 20% for as many taxpayers as resources allow.

Recommendation 2: Maintain the senior citizens’ and disabled persons’ property tax deduction, the veterans’ property tax deduction and the veterans’ property tax exemption in their current form.

Recommendation 3: The Legislature and Governor should cooperatively develop a property tax levy cap that does not lead to unintended, adverse consequences.

Recommendation 4: Preserve the Uniformity Clause.

Recommendation 5: Extend the roll-back period and impose conveyance tax on certain farmland sales.

Recommendation 6: Make no Constitutional amendments to the exemptions for real property, and refer exemption statutes to Tax Policy Study Commission for future clarification.

Recommendation 7: The Legislature should consider the establishment of the Office of State Comptroller subject to a finding that the creation of the office would not duplicate or undermine existing oversight agencies and functions.

Recommendation 8: The Legislature should establish a tax policy study commission to engage in ongoing study of the tax structure and fiscal policies of the State.

Recommendation 9: The Legislature should not authorize additional general local option taxes at this time.

Recommendation 10: The Debt Limitation Clause should not be amended at this time.

Recommendation 11: The Legislature should review and adopt the Recommendations of the Joint Committees to avoid the need for a Citizens’ Constitutional convention.