TRENTON - Some New Jersey Democratic lawmakers are complaining that the state calculates property-tax relief rebates based on homeowners' 2006 bills rather than current ones.
Recipients would get about $90 to $114 more each year if the state used updated tax bills for its formula, the Bergen Record reported Friday.
"Unfortunately, it's taking money from property taxpayers' pockets," Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo (D., Bergen) said.
Using earlier values is a way to save state government resources. The state Treasury Department would not tell the paper how much it saves.
Rebate checks from the state government used to arrive annually for many homeowners in a state with the nation's highest average property-tax bills. In 2007 and 2008, the relief checks averaged over $1,000.
Back then, the typical homeowner paid about $6,500 annually in property taxes. Now, the average bill is $7,900.
While the tax bills, used to support schools and local governments, have risen yearly - though far less since Gov. Christie, a Republican, took office three years ago - the relief programs are in constant flux.
In 2009, the government reduced the number of homeowners who were eligible by capping the rebates to senior citizens and disabled people making less than $150,000 and non-senior, nondisabled households with incomes under $75,000. Those limits have remained in place since.
In 2010, Christie suspended the rebates entirely. In 2011, they returned but as tax-bill credits instead of rebate checks. They averaged $240 that year and $274 in 2012.