Property tax rebates have been around for years in New Jersey. But Gov. Jon Corzine said last budget problems have forced him to reverse the giveback policy this year.
Many homeowners are outraged. If you were planning on getting a property tax rebate check, don’t count on it. It’s being cancelled this year for everyone except senior citizens and the disabled. The governor blames it on the bad economy. “It hurts. It hurts them, but we don’t have the resources to be able to fund it,” Corzine said.
Rutherford resident John Lombardo said he sees the move as another tax hike. It’s $1,000 he won’t be seeing.
“I think it’s terrible because I pay a lot of money here in town for property tax and I think we should get something back. We always have,” Lombardo said.
One disabled senior, however, praised Corzine.
“When things look better he’ll look better. Right now everything looks bad,” Anngene Anthony said.
Last year more than 1 million rebate checks went out to households making up to $150,000 and the year before that folks making as much as $250,000. The governor said times are changing.
“We have to make tough choices. It’s not a choice that I like to make,” Corzine said.
It is a tough choice for the governor in an election year. He had initially proposed keeping the rebate checks for households making less than $75,000.
But Corzine said the tax rate is down because he’s put more money into education. Still, Republicans are quick to blast him and the Democrats.
“The property taxes in New Jersey are the direct result of the overspending in Trenton,” said Joe Caruso, a GOP candidate for Corzine’s office.
The governor said his cut could save the state more than $900 million but that his goal is to eventually restore the rebate program.
Corzine’s also cancelling the expansion of his pre-school program.
Lawmakers will vote on Corzine’s budget by the end of June.