By Assemblyman Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. (D-Middlesex)
Gov. Christie’s proposal to cut income taxes by 10 percent has once again spurred examination of our entire tax structure in New Jersey. While I support reducing the income tax rates of low- and middle-income families, the real villain in New Jersey is property taxes.
We all know someone who has relocated to South Carolina or Delaware because they simply couldn’t afford the property taxes on their home. One of the main causes of foreclosures in our state is not the inability to pay the principal and interest on the mortgage, but rather the entire payment which includes property taxes. In many cases the property tax portion is greater than the mortgage portion.
That is why I am sponsoring an Assembly bill (actually re-introducing A3618 from previous session) that will cap property taxes on one’s primary residence at 7 percent of gross annual income. The national average is between 6 and 7 percent. Any tax paid in excess of 7 percent will be treated as a credit on your state income tax return. This straightforward plan will keep retirees in the homes they have lived in their entire lives, and help our residents who feel they have no choice but to leave their family and friends for a tax friendly state, keep their homes and stay in New Jersey.
I encourage the Governor and all members of the legislature to examine this legislation and give me your input. It’s time that we once and for all come up with a bipartisan approach to end our over dependence on property taxes.
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