Two of the Assembly’s top budget officials said they may look to raise benefits under a property tax relief program that have stayed level for years.
Assembly Budget Committee Chairwoman Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Newark) and Assembly Appropriations Committee Chairman John Burzichelli (D-Paulsboro) each said they may look to raise the benefits provided by the Homestead Rebate program this year.
“I think it requires a revisit,” Burzichelli said “We really haven’t seen the details of what the governor’s proposed in all categories, but considering the size of this budget, I think there’s room in there to do more in that category.”
As reported by NJ Spotlight, Homestead benefits have leveled off at roughly $530 for seniors and $410 for other residents despite growing property tax bills because the program still determines benefits using 2006 tax bills.
The budget proposed by Gov. Phil Murphy keeps the program unchanged, though its $260 million appropriation represents a drop from last year’s roughly $270 million. Administration officials have said the reduction was catalyzed by a drop in eligibility, not a reduction in benefits.
But neither legislator was willing to commit to bolstering the program.
“That’s been a question that we’ve been asking ourselves for the last few years,” Pintor Marin said. “This could be the year that maybe we potentially change it, but I really can’t say whether we’re going to do it or not until we really get the full scale of the budget.”