What the New State Budget Means For Lakewood: An Explainer

It was a busy week in Trenton last week, with the Legislature approving, and Governor Murphy signing, the $50.6 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2023.

But in addition to the budget, the Legislature also voted on hundreds of other bills, some which may be of great benefit to many Lakewood families.

Here is a brief rundown of some of the bills which were signed by Governor Murphy, or expected to be signed:

Child Tax Credit: Included in the budget is a statewide child tax credit program which allocates funds of up to $500 per child under the age of 6 for families making $30,000 or less per year. The $500 amount will be reduced by $10 for every $1,000 of income that the taxpayer’s taxable income exceeds $30,000 until the annual income amount reaches $80,000, at which point a family will no longer be eligible.

The tax credit is fully refundable, which means that you can receive the money even if you don’t owe any New Jersey state taxes in 2022. See more here.

Property Tax Credit: One highly touted part of the budget is a program known as ANCHOR which will provide rebates for homeowners and renters. Homeowners with an annual income below $150,000 will receive a $1,500 annual property tax benefit, while renters with incomes up to $150,000 each year will receive a benefit of $450. Homeowners with an income between $150,000 and $250,000 will receive a $1,000 rebate. See more here.

Back-To-School Tax Holiday: This may not be so significant, but for families with multiple children and looking to save, these savings can add up quickly. Beginning August 27 and lasting through September 5, there will be a sales tax holiday for a wide range of school supplies, such as pens and pencils, notebooks, and binders, art supplies, textbooks, workbooks and even computers. The sales tax of 6.625% will be waived for both in-store and online sales. It is expected to cost the state $75 million in lost revenue. See more here.

Random Fees Break: Also not so significant, but many state fees will be waived for one year, under a provision included in the budget. State parks, drivers license renewals, marriage licenses and many nurses, home health aides, and other health care workers would have their fees waived as well.

Security Funding For Private Schools and Transportation: More for the community as a whole than for the individual but included in the budget is millions of dollars for private schools to pay for security costs, an unfortunate but necessary expense these days. Private schools in the state will now receive another $30 per pupil in security grants, for a total of $205 per student, up from last year’s $175 per pupil. In addition, transportation funding will be increased by $22 per student, from the current $1,000 to $1,022. See more here.

Food Assistance Package: Aiming to tackle hunger in the state, the Legislature approved a package of 9 bills, all which aim to reduce hunger in the state. Below is a partial list:

  1. The Working Class Families’ Anti-Hunger Act,” which would require schools to provide free school breakfasts and lunches to students from working class to middle-income families earning up to 199 percent of the federal poverty level. A family of three earning $46,060 would now qualify, compared to the current eligibility limit $42,606.

2. Another bill would allow participation in the SNAP Employment and Training Program to be voluntary.

3. Yet another would direct the Division of Family Development to issue a monthly supplemental benefit of $50 to each eligible SNAP enrollee, if the enrollee is a senior citizen or an individual with a disability.

4. And a fourth bill would require the Commissioner of Human Services to apply for a federal waiver of the SNAP time limit for able-bodied adults without dependents that meet federal waiver criteria.

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  1. I was eating a bowl of Rice Krispies the other day, as I do every day, for breakfast, lunch and supper.
    “Wow, you really love that stuff!” my friend said to me, as he watched me devour the cereal. “You probably spend all of your food allowance on Rice Krispies!”
    “I don’t pay a dime for this cereal,” I told him.
    “Then who pays for it?” he queried.
    I casually took in another gulp of Rice Krispies, pulled out a food stamp from my pocket, and gave him an indirect, but terse reply:
    “SNAP, Crackle and Pop,” I said.

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