New Jersey may allow seniors to use rebates sooner to pay taxes

 The gold plated dome of the state capitol in Trenton, New Jersey. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

The gold plated dome of the state capitol in Trenton, New Jersey. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

New Jersey lawmakers are considering changing a program that gives a property tax break to eligible senior and disabled residents.

Now, those enrolled in the program have to wait to get a rebate. The measure advanced by an Assembly committee, however, would provide the “senior freeze benefit” in the form of a credit applied directly to property tax bills.

One of his constituents experienced such hardship, said Assemblyman Ron Dancer, it inspired him to introduce the legislation.

“She was trying to borrow money so she could get her tax bill paid — and then wait a year for her reimbursement to come,” said Dancer, R-Ocean. “She wanted to maintain her home, her husband had passed away, she had no other living relatives. It just pulled at my heartstrings.”

The program now requires residents to pay their full tax bill before they’re eligible for a rebate, according to Assemblyman Troy Singleton, D-Burlington. He said the proposed change would help relieve their anxiety.

“We can give the seniors and disabled under this legislation an immediate tax reduction. They don’t have to worry about where the additional money is going to come from,” Singleton said. “Before the bill is sent to them, it will reflect the reduction.”

A direct credit could also save the state the costs of printing and mailing the reimbursement checks, supporters said.

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