9th District Delegation Relieved By Restoration of Homestead Benefit Program Funding

Aug 15, 2018

In April, state Sen. Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove of the 9th District delegation alerted constituents that Gov. Phil Murphy had proposed cutting Homestead Benefit Program rebates in half. Funding for the property tax relief program, though, has been fully restored in the state’s final approved budget, as the legislators announced last week.

“Certainly, the program has been and remains underfunded, but at least devastating funding cuts that would have proven very financially difficult for affected homeowners were successfully defeated,” the delegation said in a joint statement.

New Jersey residents who own and occupy a home in the state, and pay property taxes on that home, are eligible for the Homestead Benefit Program if gross income is not more than $150,000 for homeowners 65 or older, or blind or disabled, or $75,000 for homeowners younger than 65 and not blind or disabled. The income amounts apply to a single individual, a married or civil union couple living in the same residence, and married or civil union partners maintaining separate residences.

“This year’s Homestead Benefit is based on the $143.5 million appropriation that was included in the FY 2019 budget signed into law by Gov. Murphy in July 2018,” notes the state’s Department of the Treasury website, at state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/homestead/geninf.shtml.

As the 9th District delegation remarked, “Evidently, Homestead rebates have been a prime target in budget deliberations, despite how critical it is for property tax relief. Under an agreement reached for last year’s state budget, former Gov. Christie agreed to delay payments of the Homestead Benefit program, resulting in eligible recipients receiving roughly half the amounts of their rebates in the beginning of this year.

“Recognizing it as nothing other than a budget scheme, our delegation opposed and voted against delaying the Homestead payment. We did so with the understanding that a significant number of our constituents rely on property tax relief programs to remain in their homes and would be hit hard financially.”

They added, “New Jersey is becoming increasingly unaffordable for too many residents. Tax relief should be prioritized.” —J.K.-H.

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