New Jersey’s average residential property-tax bill rose 1.6 percent to a record $7,885 last year as most towns abided by Governor Chris Christie’s 2 percent cap on the levies, slowing the growth rate, according to state data.
The average homeowner paid $126 more than in 2011, the smallest increase in at least five years, according to the Community Affairs Department. New Jersey residents pay the nation’s highest average real-estate levies, according to the Washington-based Tax Foundation.
“By any measure, the property-tax reforms have been a resounding success,” Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable told the Assembly Budget Committee May 9. “This success is measured against a cumulative average increase of 70 percent in the 10 years before Governor Christie took office.”
The average property-tax bill in 2011 was $7,759, 2.4 percent more than in 2010, state data show. Along with the property-tax cap Christie won in 2010, he and the Democratic-led legislature passed a pension overhaul in 2011 that requires government workers to pay more toward retirement and for health-care benefits. Constable said that measure will save New Jersey’s 566 municipalities $543 million in fiscal 2014.
While the rate of property-tax increases may be slowing, the net amount paid by New Jersey homeowners rose almost 19 percent during Christie’s first three years in office as he cut rebate programs, NJ Spotlight, a nonprofit research group, said May 6. Under Christie’s predecessor, Democrat Jon Corzine, the net amount paid rose 6 percent over three years as rebates offset rising levies.