TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senators Brian P. Stack and Sandra Bolden Cunningham which would establish a 21-day grace period for property tax installment payments for seniors on fixed incomes was unanimously approved by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee today.
“As our economic forecast turns from bad to worse, seniors on fixed incomes are being squeezed by the high cost of living in New Jersey – particularly high property taxes,” said Senator Stack, D-Hudson. “While many of these seniors are struggling to stay ahead of their bills, it can be difficult to impossible to pay every bill before the due date on limited income. This bill recognizes the hardships in our current economy, and grants seniors who need it most immunity from late-penalties on their property taxes.”
The bill, S-2062, would grant low-income senior citizens a 21-day grace period to pay their quarterly property taxes in municipalities that have established penalties for non-payment of taxes. The bill would direct this grace period to seniors whose annual income makes them eligible for the Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD) or the “Lifeline Credit Program,” which provides credits against utility charges. For 2008, the maximum eligible income levels for these programs are $23,092 for single individuals, or $28,313 for married couples. The income cap is adjusted each year by the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services to reflect inflation and other cost-of-living drivers.
“New Jersey must continue to support seniors in these tough economic times, and wherever possible, make the Garden State a little more affordable for those struggling to get by,” said Senator Cunningham, D-Hudson. “By providing a grace period from late-penalties on property tax payments, we’re taking a little bit of pressure off seniors’ shoulders, and giving them flexibility they need to balance their checkbooks. This measure is a needed remedy for the fiscal strain too many of our seniors on fixed incomes feel in New Jersey.”
The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.