(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and Bob Andrzejczak to help spur non-rental housing development in Atlantic City to alleviate the property tax burden placed on taxpayers due to the decline of the casino industry was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.
The bill (A-4004) establishes the “Atlantic City Growth Tax Credit Program” in the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) to grant eligible developers corporate and gross income tax credits equal to 80 percent of their costs for land acquisition, demolition, capital improvements, engineering fees, and architectural fees to build non-rental housing in Atlantic City.
“The reality is that the devaluation of casino properties in Atlantic City has resulted in lower assessments, shifting the municipal property tax burden onto other Atlantic City property taxpayers,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “Giving developers an incentive to build housing that will attract new homeowners to Atlantic City can help increase the city’s residential property tax base, and help alleviate the burden on local taxpayers who are now stuck making up the difference.”
“The perks of being the only gaming town on the East Coast are long gone, and the impact of this economic downturn is being felt not just by the casinos, but the city’s taxpayers,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). “This bill can help provide much needed tax revenue to the city and give taxpayers who are shouldering the bulk of the expense some relief.”
Under the bill, the program would only be applicable to an eligible residential project. To be eligible, a project must be located within the boundaries of Atlantic City, include at least eight newly constructed units of residential housing, and be at least 80 percent owner-occupied with no more than 20 percent of the housing units leased as market-rate rental housing.
An eligible developer would have to control all of the property within the project prior to applying for a tax credit, and the project can be no more than eight stories in height.
Lastly, the HMFA would not be allowed to accept applications for eligibility under the program after January 1, 2020 or after the date the HMFA determines that the proportion of renters to homeowners in Atlantic City has declined to at least 50 percent, whichever date occurs first. The HMFA, in consultation with the Division of Taxation in the Department of Treasury must adopt rules and regulations to implement the program. The division must also to adopt rules and regulations concerning the transferability of tax credits. On or before June 1, 2019, the HMFA must provide the Legislature a report describing the program’s results and recommendations.
The bill was released by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.