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As the Assembly Budget Committee today questioned the State Treasurer, Assemblymen John Burzichelli (D-Salem/Cumberland/Gloucester) pointed out the inconsistencies in Governor Christie’s homestead rebate program, which has now left seniors, the disabled and the middle class without any property tax relief for more than a year.

“In his first year in office, the Governor cut local aid by a billion and a half dollars and all but eliminated homestead rebates for seniors, the disabled and low and middle income earners. Residents have now lost over $4 billion in property tax relief between the FY 2011 budget and the proposed FY 2012 budget.

“Last year, the Governor cut Homestead rebates by $848 million, leaving just $268 million for the lowest income residents who are now paying part of the $1 billion in property tax increases.

“For FY 2012, the Governor said he will double last year’s rebates, but this still leaves residents 50 percent below what they got in FY 2010. This is far below full funding of the rebates, something Governor Christie repeatedly pledged to do on the campaign trail.

“But far worse than simply reneging on a campaign promise, is that the Governor has tied the restoration of a portion of his rebates cuts for seniors, the disabled and low income homeowners to legislative enactment of his employee health care proposals, pitting neighbors against neighbors. I don’t know how the Governor can, in good conscience, hold property tax relief hostage for some of our neediest residents?

“This is a question that needs to be answered as we move forward.”