A Newsletter from Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo
July marked the beginning of the new fiscal year for New Jersey, which comes with an exciting new budget of $50.6 billion that promises to fund relief programs for every household. Coming from a place of surplus, those of us in the Legislature alongside Governor Murphy chose to work on shoring up areas of relief that will make the biggest impact on residents’ lives.
Among the newly distributed funds is a sum of two billion dollars for the Affordable New Jersey Communities for Homeowners and Renters (ANCHOR) program. It gives money directly back to New Jersey residents. A taxpayer who owns a home or rents an apartment and who falls under the income thresholds will receive a check during tax time2023. The requirements are as follows: Homeowners with a gross income under $150,000 will receive $1,500, homeowners with a gross income between $150,000 and $250,000 will receive $1,000, and renters will receive $450.
Another way that we plan to help families this year is by instituting a “Back to School Sales Tax Holiday” which is a ten-day period that parents, teachers, and college students can take advantage of tax-exempt supplies and equipment, including school supplies like pens, pencils, notebooks, and binders; school art supplies such as paints, paintbrushes, clay, and glazes; school instructional materials as in reference books, maps, globes, textbooks, and workbooks; computers; and school computer supplies such as computer storage equipment, printers, and personal digital assistants. The annual tax holiday will begin on August 27 and run to September 5.
Providing even more relief to residents, there will be a fee holiday for many licenses and other services acquired through the State. The cost to renew a driver's license, apply for certain health care licenses, and marriage licenses will be free for the next year. State parks are all free to visit this summer.
We also created a new Child Tax Credit that helps parents with a household income of $30,000 or less and with children under the age of six by providing a tax credit of $500. This credit extends to parents making up to $80,000 with the credit amount received decreasing by $100 for every $10,000 above the $30,000 base. So, parents making $40,000 would receive $400, parents making $50,000 would receive $300, and so on.
The budget also makes history by investing the highest amount for school construction in State history. With a total of $1.5 billion going to the (31) New Jersey Schools Development Authority Districts, the hope is to heavily invest in the future generations of New Jerseyans who will invest back with their time and energy in our economy.
$3.1 billion is going to our transportation infrastructure this year to invest in roads, bridges, tunnels, train stations, and more. So, we should be seeing an improvement in the quality of our infrastructure now that we are back in offices and commuting again. New Jersey is one of the biggest commuter economies in the country and we recognize that it is crucial for residents to be able to access transportation of all types.
There are also federal American Rescue Plan Act funds that are going to specific uses that will continue to help residents in key ways. $305 million of it is going into affordable housing; $300 million is being invested in our State’s childcare industry to help small businesses who in turn help new and growing families; $255 million is going to state services that have historically needed extra support, such as NJ Transit, upgrades to the State’s unemployment systems, and upgrades to the Department of Motor Vehicles systems.
The Senior Freeze Program is also thriving this year, receiving a budget of just under $200 million. The new income limit has been raised to $94,178 for 2021; so, if you fall under that amount and are 65 or older by December 31, 2020, you may be eligible to have your property taxes frozen. My staff would be happy to go over the requirements with you and help fill out the application. Just remember, the deadline for applying is October 31, 2022.
For our district, I requested $1 million for funds to study and mitigate the effects of the flooding that occurred in Monroe Township, $350,000 to Plainsboro Township’s Free Public Library to support the programming that they offer, and $150,000 to the National Troopers Coalition to help ensure that they are able to bring their annual convention to Atlantic City.
As a personal achievement, this summer one of my bills has been passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy - bill A1797, which clarifies that members of the State Police Retirement System (SPRS) may receive accidental disability benefits under certain circumstances. The law will go a long way to help retired police officers who have chronic illnesses and need continuing medical assistance.
This year I am proud to say that the Legislature and Governor worked hard to make sure that the budget takes care of the residents of New Jersey. We made sure to put funding in places that directly impact the lives of everyday citizens, with special consideration for the people that need the most help and are still recovering from the pandemic. I will continue to work towards the benefit of all New Jerseyans as we move ever forward.
Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton) represents the 14th Legislative District which includes parts of Mercer and Middlesex counties. He can be reached at AsmDeAngelo@njleg.org; phone (609) 631-7501; www.WayneDeAngelo.com; Facebook: Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo; or Twitter: @DeAngeloLD14.