Mazzeo, Whelan & Singer Introduce Bill to Increase Homeownership in Atlantic City

Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo and Senators Jim Whelan (D – Atlantic) and Bob Singer (R – Ocean) on Thursday introduced bipartisan legislation to increase residential development in Atlantic City and grow the number of property owners in the city, a feat that will increase Atlantic City’s ratable base for years to come.

“Atlantic City’s hard-working middle-class families and seniors have for far too long shouldered the ever growing property tax burden in the city,” said Assemblyman Mazzeo, who represents Atlantic City. “By increasing the number of property owners in Atlantic City we’ll help alleviate the strain on current homeowners and small businesses while incentivizing new investment to help make Atlantic City the resort destination we know it can be.”

“A city with three-quarters of its residents as renters is unsustainable,” said Senator Whelan, a former mayor of Atlantic City. “We need to incentivize both developers to build residential projects in Atlantic City and consumers to purchase these units. Only then can we grow both Atlantic City’s economy and its population”

“It is vital to the survival of Atlantic City that we create circumstances that will establish a viable middle class population,” said Senator Singer. “A middle class population will provide the reliable and consistent tax base that is needed to regenerate Atlantic City.”

The bill would create the “Atlantic City Growth Tax Credit Program” to offer developers who build new, owner-occupied residential projects with a tax credit for construction costs, such as demolition, capital improvements and land acquisition. Citizens who buy these units would then be eligible for low-interest mortgages through the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency.

Eligible projects must be at least eight units large and at least 80 percent owner-occupied. No more than 20 percent of units can be market-rate rental. Projects will also be prioritized for Department of Environmental Protection reviews, allowing residential projects to get off the ground quicker.

“Frankly, few are currently building owner-occupied residential housing in Atlantic City now,” said Senator Whelan. “We need to incentivize mainland residents to move into the city or assist current renters with becoming home owners.”

This program will sunset in five years unless reauthorized by the Legislature. The bill directs the Department of the Treasury to study home ownership in Atlantic City as the program comes to a close and evaluate the effectiveness of the program.