Republicans Unveil Plan To Give Lakewood $43 Million In Property Tax Relief

Senator Declan O’Scanlon and Senator Michael Testa announced a plan to provide $4.32 billion of “Give It Back” property tax relief to New Jersey’s towns and counties, including $43 million to Lakewood, $30 million to Toms River, and $18 million to Jackson.

“The Murphy administration is sitting on billions of dollars of unallocated debt relief funds while towns and counties with substantial needs are being ignored,” said O’Scanlon, the Senate Republican Budget Officer. “Instead of letting that money waste away and get devalued by inflation, we are proposing to ‘Give It Back’ to towns and counties on a per capita basis to help them pay down debt and meet their important capital needs. Our proposal is a fair and transparent way to provide every New Jerseyan, every county, and every town with real property tax relief. There’s no other tax relief plan offered by anyone that comes close to what Republicans are proposing.”

The senators introduced S-3906, which would appropriate $4.32 billion from the New Jersey Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund to towns and counties to retire and defease local debt or fund capital projects on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Under the bill, $3 billion would be allocated to each municipality on an equal per capita basis wherein each municipality receives the same dollar amount per resident. Similarly, the remaining $1.32 billion would be allocated to each county on an equal per capita basis.

The allocations to towns and counties would average more than $100 million per legislative district and is the equivalent of approximately $1,250 per New Jersey family.

The $4.32 billion includes $1.97 billion in currently unallocated balances in the State’s debt defeasance fund along with another $2.35 billion that would be credited from the State’s General Fund.

There is no fiscal impact on the overall budget or expected surplus since the $2.35 billion that would be transferred to the Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund under the legislation matches the amount recommended by Governor Murphy in his FY 2024 budget proposal.

“Our fair and transparent ‘Give It Back’ proposal stands in stark contrast to the back-room dealings of Democrats who have doled out funds to a favored few while most towns and counties with legitimate needs have gotten nothing,” said Testa, a member of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee. “Every town and county will get a fair share of funding under our proposal, and they will be able to use their portion to reduce their debt or pave roads, build parks, or advance other important capital projects that otherwise would have been funded with debt. Ultimately, this is $4.3 billion of new property tax relief that local governments sorely need as their health benefit premiums and pension costs have soared and inflation is at a 40-year high.”

The legislation requires the $4.3 billion to be distributed to towns and counties within 30 days of its enactment.

The entire Senate Republican caucus has signed on as sponsors of the “Give It Back” property tax relief legislation.

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