I've written a lot about property tax deductions for veterans and seniors and voiced my concern about the fact that few if any municipalities are actively providing information on these deductions to their residents (see "Why Don't NJ Municipalities Talk About Property Tax Deductions?"). Now Assembly Appropriations Chairman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland) has voiced his concern that Gov. Christie might cut property tax deductions and credits due to the state's fiscal problems.
In a statement released May 21 after the state treasurer revealed that Gov. Christie plans to delay property tax rebates/credits until late next fiscal year, Burzichelli said: "'I'm now very concerned that Gov. Christie plans to eliminate property tax rebates and credits to ease his budget crisis. Why else would he suddenly be delaying payments of this vital relief until late next fiscal year?
"Working class residents rely on this property tax relief to make ends meet, especially amid the nearly net 20 percent property tax hike they've endured over the past four years. Delaying this relief will cause pain and stress for families struggling to pay the bills and keep their homes, and now they face the specter of having this relief eliminated if the governor's budget numbers once again don't add up.
"I'm concerned that this property tax relief is being set up for the governor's budget ax, and that would be painful news for New Jersey's families."
For New Jersey residents who are not aware, the annual $250 property tax deduction for eligible veterans and seniors is processed through the office of the tax assessor or tax collector in each community, but that $250 deduction is then reimbursed to the communities by the state. As Mr. Burzichelli indicates, if the state is in critical financial trouble, so are the rebates and credits.
Beau Weisman, Editor