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Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday he will not approve the senior citizen property tax relief plan proposed by leaders of the Assembly and Senate this week, injecting uncertainty into budget negotiations as the state prepares its final spending plan for the new fiscal year that begins July 1.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-18) and Senate President Nicholas Scutari (D-22) this week proposed legislation that would give every senior citizen in New Jersey, regardless of income, a 50% credit on their property taxes, up to $10,000. The governor said Thursday the state cannot afford the new program and that he would not approve it.

NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Christopher Emigholz said regardless of what happens in the budget negotiations between the legislative and executive branches, the scheduled sunset of the temporary corporate business tax (CBT) surcharge on Dec. 31 needs to happen as proposed by Governor Murphy to make our state’s business climate more competitive. The expiration of the 2.5% surcharge will reduce New Jersey’s highest-in-the-nation CBT from 11.5% to 9%.

“We appreciate our legislative leaders talking about property taxes and affordability issues, but NJBIA believes the property tax proposal should not be conflated with the expiration of the temporary CBT surcharge, which by law is scheduled to happen at the end of the year,” Emigholz said. “The state promised the business community that this was temporary, and thankfully Governor Murphy proposed to keep that promise to make our state more competitive. New Jersey needs to honor its commitment.”

Speaking with reporters at an Asbury Park event on Thursday, Murphy said he shared legislative leaders’ concerns about making the state more affordable to senior citizens, and noted several programs to help older residents with their property taxes, including the Senior Freeze and ANCHOR property tax rebate program. Murphy said the plan Coughlin and Scutari have proposed would cost the state $1.7 billion per year and jeopardize New Jersey’s improved standing with Wall Street credit agencies.