Tuesday, April 29, 2008


The NJ Department of the Treasury has announced that the Division of Taxation will begin to mail out NJ Homestead Rebate applications to senior citizens and disabled homeowners this week.

Those in Bergen, Burlington, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer, Middlesex, Passaic, Union, and Warren counties should have the application in their hands by the end of this week. Applications will be sent to residents of the other counties during the week of May 5th.

The deadline for seniors and the disabled to submit their application has been announced as June 2, 2008 – but based on past years’ experience this deadline should eventually be extended through October 31, 2008.

Rebate checks for seniors and the disabled will begin to be mailed out on or about July 31st.

The current proposed FY 2009 budget calls for reducing the NJ Gross Income threshold for receiving a NJ Homestead Rebate from $250,000 to $150,000. Corzine wants to take the rebate away from homeowners with NJ income of more than $150,000.

Those with incomes of $100,000 or less will continue to receive a rebate of 20% of their 2007 real estate tax – capped at $2,000, but under the proposed budget those with incomes of between $100,001 and $150,000 would receive a 10% rebate – up to a $1,000 maximum. This is down from the 15% rebate of the first $10,000 of 2006 real estate taxes that was paid to this category of income in 2007.
It appears that NJ has given up on the idea of applying the rebate amount directly against a homeowner's real estate tax billing - so that the homeowner actually pays less tax rather than having to wait for a rebate check. This method pretty much negates the basic purpose of a tax rebate check - the fact that the voter receives an actual payment directly from the State so he can exclaim, "Look what Corzine has given to me!" and, hopefully for the Democrats, act with appropriate appreciation at election time.
A tax rebate has nothing whatsoever to do with easing a homeowner's tax burden (or stimulating the economy for that matter) - it is a purely politically motivated gesture to buy votes. NJ had to raise the sales tax by 1% to pay for these rebates - so how is the average NJ taxpayer or homeowner any better off?
The idea behind the current federal rebate program is no different.


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