Fed Up New Jersey Voters Seek Strategic Property Tax Relief
42% of New Jersey Homeowners and 36% of Renters 50 and Older Considered Leaving the State in the Past Year
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (April 13, 2022) – New Jersey homeowners and renters are fed up with paying the highest state property taxes in the nation – averaging $9,284 in 2021. AARP New Jersey released a report today showing that 42% of New Jersey homeowners and 36% of renters 50 and older considered fleeing the state in the past year, with most giving property taxes as their top reason for leaving. The report also provides us with a blueprint to move forward, including strategic property tax solutions that will bring real relief now.
As the single largest item in most household budgets, housing costs directly affect day-to-day financial security. This is an especially harsh reality in New Jersey where residents are grappling with skyrocketing property tax burdens that leave many residents skimping on other essential needs. In fact, the new report finds that 28% of homeowners 50 and older say their mortgage payment is 40% or more of their monthly income before taxes, and 43% of renters say their rent payment is 40% or more of their monthly income before taxes. The financial burden on renters represents a real equity issue in New Jersey. Renters, who indirectly pay property taxes, are more likely to be low-income, single, separated, divorced or widowed.
While New Jersey is having an affordability crisis in general, New Jersey residents 50 and older say property taxes are their most difficult expense to pay each month. It comes as no surprise that 78% of voters 50 and older place a high priority on policymakers providing real property tax relief this legislative session.
The good news coming out of the report is that New Jersey voters 50 and older also see a way forward with strong support for several strategic property tax relief solutions to provide real relief now.
- Change Senior Freeze to Credit: 80% of New Jersey voters 50 and older support converting the Senior Freeze from a reimbursement to a credit, allowing participants to save money upfront instead of receiving money back in the form of a refund.
- Expand Homestead Benefit: 79% of New Jersey voters 50 and older support expanding eligibility requirements, like income thresholds or age, for New Jersey’s Homestead Benefit program.
- Create New Circuit Breaker Program: 74% of New Jersey voters 50 and older support creating a circuit breaker program that considers a household’s ability to pay based on income. This program would provide a refund to tenants and homeowners 65 and older that spend 10% or more of their income on property tax bills or rent.
- Raise Awareness of Existing Property Tax Relief Options: The majority of New Jersey voters 50 and older are not familiar with existing property tax relief programs and see ways to improve access. Most (85%) agree information about current programs should be included with mortgage and property tax bills or monthly rent statements. One in three (34%) believe the information should appear at the top of the tax bill or monthly statement, while more than a quarter (29%) think it would be more helpful as a separate document included with the tax bill or monthly statement.
“It is clear that people are hungry for change,” said Evelyn Liebman, AARP New Jersey Director of Advocacy. “AARP New Jersey has long worked to address the high property tax burden for residents in the state, and we will continue to do so this session. With the clear blueprint voters 50 and older have laid out, we will be fighting to pass legislation that provides real relief now for those who need it the most to ensure people can remain in their homes and communities.”
AARP commissioned Alan Newman Research, Inc. (ANR) to field the survey of 1,002 New Jersey registered voters age 50 and older.
About AARP New Jersey
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. AARP New Jersey educates and advocates on behalf of those 50 and older on issues that are important to them, their families and to all Garden State residents. The organization works to strengthen New Jersey communities with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org/nj or follow @AARPNJ on social media.