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Rice Bill Looks To Create Incentives For Renovating Fire Damaged Buildings

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice to allow a municipality to grant short-term tax exemptions for organizations using volunteer labor when rebuilding houses destroyed by fires was approved today by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

“Trying to rebuild a home in the wake of losing so much to a major disaster is devastating,” said Senator Rice, Chairman of the Committee. “We need to do what we can to lessen the burden on homeowners. Without tax exemptions, the owners may no longer be able to afford their homes because of the higher taxes assessed to the now, significantly more valuable home.”

The bill, S-2131, would allow the owner of a residential property, whose home was destroyed by a fire but has been renovated by a charitable entity, to receive a short-term tax exemption.

According to Senator Rice, in lieu of paying property taxes on the value of the renovated property, the taxes would be assessed on a lesser value, specified in the municipal ordinance. The taxable value of the property would not be less than it was before the fire destruction or “make-over,” added Senator Rice.

It’s important that we provide needed relief to our citizens when they have to rebuild their lives,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex.

The bill now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee before moving to the full Senate for consideration.