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Governor James McGreevey
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For Release:
September 24, 2001

Schundler Unveils Plan To Cut School Taxes In Half for Seniors
Candidate outlines bold new senior property tax reduction plan during visit to Ocean County

(LAKEWOOD, SEPTEMBER 24) - Speaking before a group of Lakewood seniors Monday, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bret Schundler announced a proposal to dramatically reduce the property tax burden on New Jersey’s seniors - part of a larger plan to reduce property taxes.

“I am proposing that we cut in half the amount of school property taxes paid by New Jersey’s seniors,” Schundler told the crowd. “Under my proposal, the state would pay 50 percent of the school portion of property tax bill for seniors. Unlike the existing Homestead Rebate program, seniors will not have to wait for a rebate check, they will simply pay less property taxes at the outset.”

The program, which is to be phased-in over a three-year time period, would cost the state $414 million once fully implemented. This would provide a 64 percent increase in tax relief over the property tax benefits already received by seniors under the Homestead Rebate program.

“Our seniors are living on fixed incomes and many are at risk of being taxed out of their homes by the state’s soaring property tax rates,” Schundler said. “These are citizens who have paid property taxes their entire lives, who have contributed a tremendous amount to their communities, and who no longer have children in the school system. Our seniors are living on fixed incomes and if we do not relieve their property tax burden, many will be taxed out of their homes and possibly out of the state. We cannot, and will not, allow that to happen.”

Under this program, approximately 648,000 senior households would qualify, with an average property tax reduction of $1,226 - $479 more than what seniors receive under the Homestead Rebate and Senior Citizen Deduction programs. The three-year phase-in would work as follows:

  • Year One: Senior households with incomes under $35,000 will be eligible at a total cost to the state of $238 million.
  • Year Two: Senior households with incomes below $75,000 will be eligible at a total cost to the state of $308 million.
  • Year Three: All senior households eligible. Total cost to the state: $414 million.
“I have said that tax relief would be a top priority of my administration and this is one example of my commitment to that goal,” Schundler said. “In addition to this proposal, we will control state spending and reform the way we provide education so that we can reduce property taxes for all of our residents. On average the state budget revenues grow by $1 billion annually. If we are committed to providing property tax relief, we can do so in a fiscally responsible manner. As Governor, I will make that commitment.”


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