NEW JERSEY – Gov. Phil Murphy announced a new property tax relief program Thursday that would replace the homestead benefit program and Assemblyman John DiMaio responded that state programs haven’t stopped property taxes from increasing.
“The root causes of higher property taxes continue to be unaddressed,” said DiMaio (R-Warren), the Assembly Republican leader. “School funding hasn’t stopped increases. Homestead benefits and senior freeze haven’t stopped increases. And municipal aid hasn’t stopped increases. At some point Democrats have to realize state spending doesn’t address municipal problems.”
The new program would affect nearly 1.8 million homeowners and renters, up from 470,000 homeowners that receive homestead benefit rebates. Benefits would also increase from $700 in year one of the program to $1,150, up from the average $626 benefit under the homestead rebate.
“Republicans have had bills that would address the root causes of property taxes that have languished for years without action despite all our private and sometimes public efforts,” DiMaio said. “This program is like putting gauze over a permanent wound instead of a Band-Aid. It is covering more, but property taxes will continue to bleed household budgets. He doesn’t deserve a pat on the back for this stunt. It’s more of the same.”
Assembly Republicans sponsor bills that would return Energy Tax Receipts to municipalities in full and require every dollar in aid be used to lower property tax levies, end sick-time payouts, and increase property tax deductions for renters to 30% from 18%, among others.
“I’ll make it even more simple. Governor Murphy is using over-taxation as an excuse to cloak over-taxation. Municipal spending can be cut by billions of dollars instead of spending billions at the state level,” DiMaio said.