Amid the debate over taxes and pensions cuts, at least one aspect of the $32.5 billion budget that Gov. Chris Christie signed less than two weeks ago was virtually overlooked in the shuffle. And it’s one that will affect hundreds of thousands of residents right away.
They’ll have to wait another nine months to receive their homestead property tax rebates.
The elderly, the disabled, and low-income homeowners enrolled in the state’s Homestead program were supposed to receive an annual credit on their property tax bill in August. But faced with a $1.7 billion budget shortfall, Christie moved the credit until May of next year — 21 months after the last rebate.
That means the state won’t have to come up with $395 million in rebates until next spring.
“It’s important to be paid, but I think it’s also important to us how we manage our cash,” Christie said at a news conference back in May. “When you’re running out of money, you’ve got to manage your cash carefully, You’ve got to prioritize your bills and decide which ones you absolutely must pay.”
As he put it: “If I wanted to eliminate it, I would have just eliminated it. I did that before, in 2010.” Read more in Star Ledger.