Gov. Murphy: I pledged to do something about New Jersey’s notorious taxes and I have | Opinion


By Phil Murphy

New Jersey’s property tax problem is nothing new.

Property taxes, and the question of how to fairly pay for the local government and services that our communities need, have vexed taxpayers and governments alike since the first property taxes were collected in 1670. The principle of “uniform taxation” — requiring equal tax rates on all property in any given locality, both residential and commercial — which underpins our current property tax system was enshrined in state law in 1851.

Over the years, there has been no lack of officials pledging to do something about New Jersey’s notorious property taxes — and no lack of complaints from residents about them.

Property taxes impact New Jersey’s affordability perhaps more than any other cost of living. I hear these complaints everywhere I go in our state. No community is immune.

As state officials, we do not set property taxes. Property taxes are set by county and local governments and local boards of education. Some communities also elect independent fire commissions or maintain individual municipal libraries, which may also levy their own property taxes.

Especially now, as our economy’s post-pandemic recovery is met with increasing costs, relieving the pinch of property taxes and making life more affordable for our residents takes on a new urgency. This is why historic property tax relief took front and center in the state budget.

To start, I initiated our new, $2 billion ANCHOR direct property tax relief program. ANCHOR stands for “Affordable New Jersey Communities for Homeowners and Renters,” but its true meaning comes from direct relief to help families and seniors anchor themselves in the communities they love.

More than 2 million households – which include the majority of New Jerseyans – will be getting property tax relief delivered right back into their pockets.

Homeowners with incomes of up to $150,000 will get direct relief of $1,500 – and homeowners with incomes above that to $250,000 will receive $1,000. Right off the bat, this is significant and direct property tax relief for roughly 1.2 million New Jersey households.

The average homeowner in New Jersey currently pays roughly $9,300 in property taxes. With ANCHOR’s direct relief factored in, that effective property tax bill drops to $7,800. The last time New Jersey’s average property tax was that low was 2011.

Put another way, ANCHOR effectively cuts property taxes by 16% for the average homeowner – and possibly even more for some – and undoes years of property tax increases.

Additionally, approximately 900,000 tenant families with incomes up of to $150,000 will each receive direct relief of $450 – relief that will help mitigate rent increases caused by increasing property taxes on landlords.

If you qualify to receive direct property tax relief through ANCHOR, you must apply by Dec. 30. Visit nj.gov/treasury or call the ANCHOR Hotline. Moreover, ANCHOR’s benefit will come on top of any other property tax relief you may also receive – from veteran’s deductions to the Senior Freeze – to push your property tax burden even lower.

ANCHOR also works alongside the billions of dollars in indirect property tax relief my new budget contains.

For example, the budget is delivering roughly $10 billion in direct state aid for K-12 public school classrooms, nearly $1 billion in preschool aid, and nearly $2 billion to support school construction and renovation. And every single dollar of state aid for our school communities is a dollar that can be kept in the pockets of property taxpayers.

The budget also contains billions of dollars invested directly in our communities and local governments for any number of initiatives, from maintaining strong local services to repaving roads and upgrading critical infrastructure. It meets our annual obligation to the state’s long-lagging public-employee pension system, further insulating property taxpayers.

And it sets aside more than $5 billion to further pay down or avoid state debt – again, taking weight off the shoulders of not just today’s property taxpayers but, importantly, tomorrow’s.

We cannot undo 350 years’ worth of problems at once, but we are doing more than any other administration to combat New Jersey’s property tax problem. In my first term, we slowed the rate of property tax growth more than during any of the previous four administrations, including four of the lowest year-over-year increases in property taxes on record. ANCHOR takes this progress to the next level by effectively cutting property taxes.

We are delivering these historic levels of direct relief while restoring New Jersey’s long-term fiscal health. In each and every way, we are governing as we said we would.

Phil Murphy is the governor of the state of New Jersey.

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Read More: Gov. Murphy: I pledged to do something about New Jersey’s notorious taxes and I have | Opinion

2022-11-06 07:30:00

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