State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco wants the Murphy Administration to work with the Legislature to safeguard a popular property tax relief program for low-income, disabled, and senior residents.
“It’s imperative that lawmakers and the governor work together on a bipartisan basis to ensure that Homestead Benefit credits can appear on property tax bills due in November,” stated Bucco (R-25) in a press statement.
In recent budget testimony, New Jersey Treasury officials informed the Assembly Budget Committee that the Homestead Benefit credits will not appear on upcoming property tax bills due to the state budget not being approved by Sept. 30.
Tax Credit Delayed
Gov. Phil Murphy’s $32.4 billion budget plan earmarked $275 million for the property tax relief program affecting approximately 580,000 seniors, disabled or low-income homeowners.
As a result, Treasury officials confirmed in testimony that Garden State homeowners will not receive Homestead property tax credits on their Nov. 1 real estate tax bills, claiming there will not be enough time to process the credits to appear on November tax bills. As of right now, the state plans to provide eligible homeowners two installments of the credit in 2021, in February and May.
“New Jersey families continue to struggle with lost jobs, furloughs, and financial hardship as a result of this unprecedented crisis,” said Bucco (R-25). “Even while their paychecks and ability to earn have been reduced, their property tax bills still must be paid in full.”
In response to the State revenue shortfall that resulted from COVID-19, a series of scheduled Homestead Benefit credits and Senior Freeze property tax reimbursement payments going back to May were not made.
“The Treasury Department is telling us that the uncertainty of funding in the upcoming budget and a shortened window to process payments will prevent Homestead Benefit credits from being provided this November,” added Bucco. “We have the ability to resolve this problem today to ensure that homeowners get the property tax relief they deserve.”
“Governor Murphy and legislative leaders should come together immediately to commit to funding property tax relief programs in the upcoming budget, regardless of how the rest of the budget is negotiated.”
Make November Payment
The Morris County lawmaker said by making that commitment well in advance of the budget’s adoption, state officials can provide the certainty that the Treasury Department needs to provide Homestead Benefit credits this November.
“(This) would be welcome news for struggling homeowners and a bipartisan accomplishment that we all could be proud of,” stated Bucco.