Rice Has New Formula For Property Tax Relief

TRENTON – Senator Ronald L. Rice said that to ease the tax burden on New Jersey’s residents, the property tax rebate formula should be changed so that 20 percent of the rebate is directly allocated to municipalities to help curb their need to raise local taxes.

“We must recognize the burden imposed on New Jersey residents who are doing all they can just to get by as the State continues to ask more and more of them,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex.

“Homeowners need relief from property taxes that consume more and more of their earnings and force too many out of their homes,” said Senator Rice. “Because so many, especially seniors, are finding it harder to pay their property taxes, we must create a plan that will bridge the financial gap that local municipalities need to fill and ultimately end up passing onto their residents.

To implement his proposal, Senator Rice has introduced S-2093, which would allocate 20 percent of each homestead rebate would go to local municipality. The remaining 80 percent would go to the homeowner, or renter. Senator Rice will submit his bill for consideration as part of the special session to study the property tax issue.

“Common sense shows that a property tax rebate program is no longer tax relief if the municipalities will just need to raise their taxes to fill a financial gap,” said Senator Rice. “My bill should provide the much needed additional aid to municipal governments that have had to raise local taxes to keep things running. By dedicating 20 percent of residents’ homestead rebates to their towns we will help keep their tax bill down.”

According to Senator Rice, The estimated Fiscal Year 2006 homestead rebate expenditures are $1.09 billion, and under this bill municipalities would have received $218 million. Had this bill been enacted for Fiscal Year 2005, the measure could have yielded $308 million for municipalities, added Senator Rice.

The bill has been referred to Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee, of which Senator Rice is the Chairman.