Downey, Houghtaling Bill Requiring State to Reveal Complete Property Tax Data Again Goes to Governor

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Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Joann Downey and Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling to require the State of New Jersey to annually post complete property tax data for residents was approved 31-1 on Monday by the Senate, giving it final legislative approval. The bill now goes to the governor, who vetoed it during the last legislative session.

The bill - approved by the Assembly in June - comes after the Christie administration deleted property tax data traditionally found on the Department of Community Affairs web site. The information detailed Christie's cuts to property tax relief that resulted in a net property tax increase of about 20 percent. 

"Trying to keep taxpayers in the dark about where increases to their property tax bills stem from is disingenuous," said Downey (D-Monmouth). "We have some of the highest property taxes in the country. Property owners deserve to have as much pertinent information as possible."

The bill (A-312) would require the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs to post on its website a summary of property tax data for the current calendar year, and for each of the immediately preceding 10 calendar years.

The property tax data summary would provide the public with information about the property tax levy for the previous year in each county, municipality, fire district, and school district in the state, and would include such other statistical information as the division deems useful for the public's understanding of the individual components that make up each taxpayer's property tax bill.

In each year, the data provided must include, but not be limited to: the amount of the average residential property tax bill for each municipality in the state; the amount of the average homestead credit payment credited against the average property tax bill; and the net average residential property tax bill, which would be the remainder of the average residential property tax bill minus the average homestead credit payment.

The bill would also require that other property tax data, such as individual property tax levies for certain portions of local budgets, be provided as well.

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