LAWMAKERS TO OPPOSE LEAVING SENIORS OUT IN THE COLD WITHOUT PROPERTY TAX RELIEF

(MONROE TWP.) – With the deadline to finalize the state budget for Fiscal Year 2012 approaching on June 30, Senator Linda R. Greenstein and Assemblymen Wayne P. DeAngelo and Daniel R. Benson will host a Friday morning seminar to discuss the status of the Property Tax Reimbursement Program – commonly known as the “senior freeze” program. Under Governor Christie’s proposed budget, no new residents would be able to enter into the program and the income eligibility would remain the same as last year for those seeking to establish their “base year” — – the year in which their property taxes will be frozen going forward.

The 14th District “Senior Freeze” program will be held on Friday, June 24, 2011 at 10:00 am at the Monroe Township Library located at 4 Municipal Plaza, Monroe Township. All are welcome to attend to learn more about the program.

“Seniors from across New Jersey rely on the ‘Senior Freeze’ rebate as a means of paying their bills to stay in the homes and communities where they raised their families,” said Greenstein (D-Plainsboro). “It’s shameful that the Governor is breaking his promise to seniors by cutting funding to senior freeze and raising their property taxes.”

Since January 2010, the Christie Administration has slashed funding for the “Senior Freeze” property tax relief program that has allowed more than 136,000 eligible homeowners to “freeze” their property taxes at a certain amount, insulating them against future tax hikes. Despite claims by Governor Christie that he has fully funded the program, the fact remains that no resident who first applied for the program in 2010 or this year will receive a rebate. Only those senior citizens or disabled residents who were in the program as of 2009 will receive assistance. Residents may only apply to establish their “base year” until the program is truly fully funding at appropriate levels.

“Because of this Administration’s failure to legitimately fund the ‘Senior Freeze’ program, thousands of seniors citizens and disabled residents will be left out in the cold without a way to pay their property tax bills. These folks deserve to be told the truth about the lies they are being told when it comes to the property tax assistance that they were promised and desperately need,” said DeAngelo (D-Hamilton).

“Taking care of our seniors should be a top priority. Making sure that it is affordable for them to continue to live in the communities where they raised their families should be paramount,” said Benson (D-Hamilton).

Under the proposed State Budget for FY 2012, only those applicants who received a reimbursement check for 2009 and whose income for 2010 does not exceed last year’s income limit of $70,000 would be eligible to receive a reimbursement for 2010. Applicants also must be a resident of New Jersey for 10 years having lived in their current home for the last three years.

All applications for the “senior freeze” program – those who historically received funding and those creating a ‘base year” — must be submitted before October 31, 2011 to establish this “base year” to enter the program. Information regarding the program is posted on the State of New Jersey Department of Treasury website (www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/propfrez.shtml).

Greenstein, DeAngelo and Benson represent the 14th Legislative District which consists of portions of Middlesex and Mercer counties.