Webber’s property tax relief bill advances in Legislature

Webber’s property tax relief bill advances in Legislature

Assemblyman Jay Webber

TRENTON, N.J. – A property tax reduction bill that Assemblyman Jay Webber first authored with then-Assemblyman Troy Singleton in 2012 cleared another legislative hurdle on Thursday when the Senate passed it unanimously.

The bill (S330/A1012) directs energy tax receipts back to municipalities for the exclusive purpose of providing direct property tax reductions to residents.

“New Jersey residents desperately need and deserve property tax relief, and this is a starting solution that has broad bipartisan sponsorship. I am thankful that the Senate has passed this legislation, because it puts taxpayers first,” Webber (R-Morris) said. “This bill doesn’t simply hand back the money to a lower level of government, it mandates that the aid be used to relieve the property tax burden. It is the first real meaningful property tax relief bill to be moved in New Jersey in years.”

Utility companies pay fees for the use of public space, also known as public right-of-way, for energy infrastructure like power and sewer lines. The state collects those fees, which go into the Energy Tax Receipts Property Tax Relief Fund to be distributed back to the municipalities. But a change in budget language in 2008 allowed the state to divert hundreds of millions of dollars each year from that fund and into general state expenditures. In fact, according to an analysis by the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, over $14 billion has been diverted from municipalities to the state coffers since 2002.

Under the bill, distribution to municipalities from the Energy Tax Receipts Property Tax Relief Act would gradually increase over a five-year period until the amount is fully restored. The towns would be required to subtract the additional aid from the municipal property tax levy.

The long and growing list of bipartisan sponsors of A1012 includes Assembly members Catalano, Conaway, DiMaio, Gove, Kean, Lampitt, McClellan, McGuckin, Mosquera, Reynolds-Jackson, Rumpf, Sawyer, Simonsen, Space, Swain, Torrissi, Tully, Umba and Wirths.

The bill is awaiting a hearing in the Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee.