TRENTON — A compromise effort to cap New Jersey property tax increases at two percent per year moved forward yesterday.
Gov. Chris Christie issued a conditional veto modifying Senate Bill 29, the Democrats’ plan to cap property tax increases at 2.9 percent which included a number of exceptions. The modified bill caps future property tax increases at two percent and only includes exceptions for pension and health care costs, debt service payments and states of emergency. Voters could still allow increases that exceed the cap with a simple majority vote.
If both houses of the Legislature approve the governor’s modifications, the bill will become law.
The governor had initially called for a constitutional amendment capping increases at 2.5 percent with fewer exceptions, but was willing to compromise when legislators failed to support his plan.
“Now is the time to act, not hesitate. The stakes are too high for New Jersey families who are struggling to make ends meet and fighting to stay in their own homes to delay any longer in providing real, meaningful property tax relief,” Christie said.
“In the last few days, we have accomplished much together, including a bipartisan vote in favor of a lean budget and an agreement to move forward in providing the property tax relief desperately needed by New Jersey families. By continuing our work together, we will accomplish what was thought impossible by some – decisive action on a decades long problem that has become a full blown crisis for the people of our state.”
“Over the years as property taxes have continued to go up, it has become apparent that Trenton politicians of all political stripes have repeatedly failed to fix the system. Today, we can act to ensure – that 10 years from now -young families won’t be struggling to own a home because they can’t afford the property taxes and that our seniors aren’t forced to move out of state by wild tax increases year after year,” said Governor Christie.
In his conditional veto, Christie noted that since 2001, spending at the local level has spiked 69 percent – from $26.5 billion to approximately $44.7 billion this year. Had a hard, two percent cap been in place for the last decade, the average family’s property tax bill today would be $5,167, or $2114 lower than the current $7,281, the governor said.
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