TRENTON – The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today approved a $29 billion state budget, restores nearly half a billion dollars in direct property tax relief and dramatically cuts spending while preserving funding for important health and education programs.
“The announcement last week that the Tax Amnesty program has been even more successful than we had hoped has enabled us to significantly increase the amount of property tax relief we can provide to the hardworking people of New Jersey,” said Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex), chairwoman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. “The additional revenue the program has brought in is being targeted to provide the most property tax relief to the people who are most in need. This is an extraordinary accomplishment given the economic landscape in New Jersey and across the country.”
The appropriations bill (S-2010), sponsored by Sen. Buono, now includes $404 million in property tax rebates for families earning up to $75,000 a year. Another bill (S-2015) provides an additional $60 million in relief by allowing taxpayers from households earning up to $150,000 to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes from their income taxes; households earning over $150,000 and up to $250,000 would be allowed up to a $5,000 deduction. Under these terms, the property tax deduction would be available to 94 percent of households.
Sen. Buono noted the bill incorporates more than $4 billion of cuts, an unprecedented amount level of cutting that reflects the sharp reduction in revenues the state is experiencing. This budget has been balanced primarily by spending cuts and reductions in baseline growth.
“The budget represents our state’s commitment to maintaining quality education for our children, increased health care options for all of our citizens and needed property tax relief for our most vulnerable senior citizens. A look at what is happening in other states across the country – massive cuts in education, the closing of prisons, huge tuition increases for college students – shows we can take pride in a budget that has made difficult choices under difficult circumstances.”
The budget bill was approved 8-6, with no Republicans supporting the bill.
The committee also approved a bill (S-2016), sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney, which increases increase taxes on various lines of insurance.