With Costs Spiking, Torrissi Pitches More Property Tax Relief for Towns

With Costs Spiking, Torrissi Pitches More Property Tax Relief for Towns

HAMMONTON, New Jersey – With inflation, labor shortages and now an incoming health benefits rate hike for local workers all placing a financial strain on towns across New Jersey, Assemblyman Michael Torrissi, Jr. (R-Hammonton) is pitching a plan to take back some of Trenton’s record budget surplus and use it to prevent devastating property tax increases for residents and local businesses.

Torrissi wants the state to return utility tax dollars it has been siphoning from towns for years, diversions that amount to nearly $14 billion in lost local aid over two decades, according to the NJ League of Municipalities. Utility companies pay fees into a state fund for the right to use local infrastructure, but the state has gone and used hundreds of millions of dollars each year from that fund to fill budget holes.

After the State Health Benefits Commission approved 23 percent health care rate hikes for local workers, a move all but certain to increase costs for towns which pay the lions’ share of their employees’ health insurance premiums, Torrissi says the return of the energy tax receipts funding is needed now more than ever if towns can ever hope to hold the line on property taxes.

“These are funds that, by statute, are supposed to be given for towns to offset local costs, but which have been snatched by Trenton for far too long,” Torrissi said. “My legislation would restore the full levels of local property tax relief at a time when our residents and small businesses are least able to afford another tax increase.”

Torrissi’s bill, ACR-29, would require that the energy tax receipts be fully distributed to towns each year through the budget, as well as another property tax relief program that has been historically underfunded.

“This current inflation crisis is a clear sign that we need to take concrete steps to address the property tax affordability issue in our state,” Torrissi concluded. “My bill is the first step we could be taking to make that happen.”

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