Property tax program heads to governor’s desk

The legislation was sponsored by Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti

Assemblyman Chiaravalloti (left) and Gov. Murphy
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Assemblyman Chiaravalloti (left) and Gov. Murphy

New legislation that would create a property tax rewards program for local consumers heads to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk to be signed into law. The bill (A-4806) received final legislative approval on March 25, passing the Assembly 72-0 and Senate 37-0.

The bill, sponsored by state Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti, would see that residents who shop at certain local businesses in their municipalities would be eligible for cash rewards as part of the property tax reward program. Chiaravalloti represents the 31st Legislative District, which includes Bayonne and parts of Jersey City.

Paying it forward

The measure would authorize property tax reward programs structured as local merchant loyalty initiatives. The programs would provide cash rewards to municipal residents and employees, people who work in the municipality, and residents of other municipalities who choose to participate in the program when they buy goods or services from businesses in the town that agree to provide cash rewards.

The program would be run by a private entity designated by the municipality. Shoppers would use a rewards card to make purchases at participating businesses, and rewards would be calculated as a percentage of the total sale.

The business would pay for the rewards earned by customers, plus a separate administrative fee for the program’s operator. On June 1 each year, the operator of the program would provide the municipal tax collector with a list of property owners who participate, as well as their rewards earned between May 1 and April 30.

The total dollar value would be subtracted from the residents’ property tax bill. Participants who do not live in the municipality would receive a rebate check. The bill would validate existing property tax reward programs.

This measure is part of a legislative package based on recommendations from the coronavirus recovery Economic Advisory Council established by Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. The council’s charge was to provide input and ideas to the State Legislature to guide New Jersey’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the bill’s passage, Chiaravalloti said: “Municipalities across New Jersey have found a way to do the impossible; encourage residents to support local businesses, while at the same time lowering their property taxes. Businesses do more business. Shoppers know every dollar they spend at participating local stores and restaurants will lower their property tax bill. It’s common-sense solutions like this that will boost New Jersey’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic-induced recession and ease its burden on small businesses and hardworking families.”

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