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Christie's NJ budget delays property tax rebate again, angering seniors

Thursday, July 10, 2014   (0 Comments)
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Christie's NJ budget delays property tax rebate again, angering seniors 07/10/2014

An overlooked element of Christie’s budget that will come into effect immediately is that homestead property tax rebates will be delayed 9 months.

The elderly, the disabled, and low-income homeowners enrolled in the state’s Homestead program were supposed to receive an annual credit on their property tax bill in August. But faced with a $1.7 billion budget shortfall, Christie moved the credit until May of next year — 21 months after the last rebate. This is the third time in Christies 5 years as governor that he has delayed these payments.

More than 1.8 million New Jersey residents are eligible for the program. The average rebate is $516 for elderly and disabled homeowners earning less than $150,000 a year. Homeowners with incomes under $75,000 will get back an average of $402. This is an amount of money that Christie feels the state can simply not afford, regardless of beneficial relief the program provides to tax-payers.

Delaying the rebate was designed to give the state more flexibility with cash flow. "It’s appropriate from a cash-management standpoint," state Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff told the Assembly budget committee in May.

In all, homeowners have received only $1,188 under the three credits given out during Christie’s term — compared with an average of $4,247 under his Democratic predecessors, according to the nonpartisan group NJ Spotlight.

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