As the first of $2.2 billion in property tax rebate checks moved through a sorter at the Treasury Department’s plant in West Trenton today, Gov. Jon Corzine said he would deliver the same type of relief next year and the year after. But he stopped short of guaranteeing it.
“We intend to stay with the program we put in place,” Corzine said. “I’m not writing a guarantee, like a no-new-taxes pledge, (but) I’d make a high-probability bet we’ll be back here next year.”
Critics of the program, mainly Republicans, have argued that while the rebate checks will be welcomed by taxpayers this year, the program cannot be sustained in coming years because it is funded with increased sales tax collections drawn over two years.
‘It will be very difficult to achieve (in future years),” Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance (R-Hunterdon) said. “The public, before it votes for every seat in the Legislature in November, should realize the constraints under which we operate.”
Corzine insisted he and the Legislature will find the funds again next year for tax relief of some sort.
“This was a consistent pledge I made in my gubernatorial campaign,” he said. “I’m committed to it. The public deserves it.”
Corzine insisted there was nothing political about the checks or the timing of their delivery: “This has nothing to do with the election calendar,” he said.