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  • The Governor’s Budget doubles the Homestead Benefit for eligible homeowners. Formerly named “Homestead Rebates,” this program was reformed in the fiscal year 2011 Budget to provide credits directly against homeowners’ property tax bills. In fiscal year 2012, senior and disabled homeowners with gross income up to $150,000 will receive benefits averaging $540, and non-senior homeowners with gross incomes up to $75,000 will receive benefits averaging $404.

In his first year in office, Governor Christie took bold action to confront the property tax crisis in New Jersey by reining in spending and empowering local officials to control costs in local government. Through these reforms, Governor Christie is enabling local governments to set funding priorities, find new efficiencies and make tough choices to get their fiscal houses in order, without continually raising taxes on New Jerseyans. In the first 13 months of the Christie Administration, the Governor with support from the Legislature made real progress to bring property tax relief to the state:

  • Passed a hard, 2% cap on property tax increases;

  • Established a 2% cap on interest arbitration awards;

  • Reformed the awarding of extraordinary municipal aid under the Transitional Aid program;

  • Implemented a “Best Practices” checklist for municipalities to abide by, while making their final State aid payment contingent on compliance;

  • Passed first-step pension and benefit reforms, including a mandatory 1.5% contribution to health care costs for all employee contracts effective after May 2010, saving municipalities and school districts over $300 million in fiscal year 2011;

  • Instituted a cap on school district superintendent pay;

  • Proposed a property tax tool kit containing 33 reforms to control local government costs; and,

  • Proposed additional, far-reaching reforms for pension and benefits to deal with ballooning healthcare and pension costs.

By putting a hard cap on tax increases, providing critical savings and tools to control costs, and continuing to advocate for additional reforms to achieve even greater savings for local governments, Governor Christie’s policies will slow spending at the local level. However, these initiatives alone will not slow local government growth to reasonable levels; a cap on tax revenue will force local governments to make tough decisions, cut spending and find new efficiencies.

Local governments will continue to be encouraged to adopt additional cost saving measures, including the sharing of services, consolidating where it makes sense, and continuing to press for compliance with municipal “Best Practices” to ensure the most efficient and effective use of taxpayer dollars.

The Governor’s Budget continues to provide municipal formula aid at the fiscal year 2011 level. Providing municipalities with a stable funding level in fiscal 2012 will help minimize service disruptions during the first year of the new 2% property tax levy cap.

The Budget builds on the Governor’s fiscal year 2011 “Best Practices” initiative by increasing municipalities’ incentives to enact meaningful fiscal and management reforms and make the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars in their operations. These efforts will continue strengthening local


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