NEW JERSEY - The new budget signed into law last month by Gov. Phil Murphy will provide $2 billion in property tax relief for homeowners and rebates for renters.
Under the new ANCHOR or Affordable New Jersey Communities for Homeowners and Renters program, which replaces the Homestead Benefit program, more than 1.15 million homeowners will receive credit toward their property taxes.
More than 900,000 renters, who were never a part of the Homestead program, will receive rebate checks.
The benefits were phased in beginning July 1 instead of over three years so that checks could be mailed sooner.
For the more than 870,000 homeowners across the state with a household income of under $150,000, a $1,500 property tax benefit will be applied each year.
For the more than 290,000 homeowners with a household income of between $150,000 and $250,000, a $1,000 property tax benefit will be applied each year.
And the more than 900,000 renters with incomes of up to $150,000, will receive checks each year of $450 to help offset rent increases caused by increasing property taxes.
Based on the budget, a middle-class family receiving $1,500 in ANCHOR relief will see their average property burden reduced to a level not seen since 2012.
When the budget plan was announced earlier this year, Murphy said the relief was long overdue.
"This is another unkept promise from the past. The property tax relief was only at levels it was supposed to be for one year-- in 2007. Enough already," said Murphy at the time.
Prior to the new $51 billion budget, the average property tax benefit was $626, with eligibility limited to homeowners making $75,000 or less if under 65 and not blind or disabled. Those older than 65 or who are blind or disabled faced a $150,000 income cap currently.
"Inconsistent funding and constantly changing rules lead many to know if they really qualified for a refund," said Murphy.
Lawmakers will need to renew the program each year in the budget. That means, for example, if state revenues fall or a recession hits, the program could be on the chopping block.
The taxes are levied by school districts and local governments and pay for educational and other services.
With the Association Press