New Jersey households who have yet to apply for Anchor property-tax relief benefits that might total $1,500 later this year are running out of time.
Gov. Phil Murphy extended the state-funded relief benefits application deadline until Jan. 31.
The administration is promoting the deadline with a $2 million campaign.
The Anchor programme, created by Murphy and lawmakers last year to lower New Jersey’s average $9,300 property tax payment, is being promoted in a final multimedia campaign.
Melinda Caliendo, Department of Treasury spokesperson, said visual and audio communications began 10 days ago and will increase in the coming weeks.
Caliendo said the ad is data-driven, bilingual, and targeted to diverse New Jerseyans.
“Affordable New Jersey Communities for Homeowners and Renters” is the program’s official name, hence “Anchor.” It replaces the state’s 10-year-old Homestead relief programme, which helped New Jersey homeowners balance average property tax bills that have grown by over $1,400 since 2012, before inflation, according to data from the Department of Community Affairs.
Anchor benefits are available to 2 million New Jersey residents, including 900,000 tenants who were kept out of the Homestead programme for a decade. Anchor provides $450 to renters making up to $150,000.
Anchor will provide $1,500 to roughly 900,000 homeowners earning up to $150,000. Nearly 300,000 homes earning 0,000–0,000 can receive ,000 in rewards.
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The government says Anchor benefits will be paid via check or direct deposit in late spring. The 2023 fiscal year budget includes a $2 billion-plus line item for disaster relief, the most in New Jersey in over a decade.
Anchor benefits offset 2019 property taxes, so income and residence criteria are depending on where applicants resided and how much they earned that year.
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In late November, Murphy, a second-term Democrat, told NJ Spotlight News that about half of Anchor benefit recipients had applied. Before the Jan. 31 application deadline, his administration would promote the new relief programme.
Caliendo reported 1,224,674 applications on Tuesday morning, including almost 1 million from homeowners and 210,644 from renters.
“While homeowner response is robust, we’d like to see more renter participation and the (promotional) campaign will intensify its focus on the tenant population as we try to ensure every qualified applicant applies for the enhanced relief offered under the new programme,” she added.
The Joint Budget Oversight Committee of the Legislature approved utilising $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act cash from last year to pay for the promotional campaign last week.
After the appropriation was authorised, panel head Sen. Paul Sarlo asked administration officials to go beyond the mail. Sarlo (D-Bergen) stated many applicants would consider USPS information “junk mail.”
The nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services memo stated that the Murphy administration hired Princeton Partners, LLC to run a promotional campaign that could include “list-serves, press releases, targeted social media and website advertising, videos, TV and radio commercials, and signs and billboards along major highways.”
In this year’s state budget, lawmakers on the joint budget panel, known as “JBOC” in Trenton, were granted a say in how the state spends more than $1 billion of New Jersey’s $6 billion share of federal pandemic cash.
The promotional campaign is the first new federal pandemic aid appropriation to go before the legislative oversight committee since Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders agreed in late June to allocate roughly $2 billion for dozens of new capital investments and other projects in the fiscal year 2023 budget.
Federal law gives the state till Dec. 31, 2024, to obligate its remaining federal aid and even longer to spend it.