During an announcement in New Milford, a day after delivering his budget address, Gov. Phil Murphy and Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio announced March 1 that more than 1.6 million New Jersey homeowners and renters applied for the first year of the ANCHOR property tax relief program.
While ANCHOR was originally slated for a three-year phase-in, the $2 billion program was fully funded in the Fiscal Year 2023 budget and, during his speech Tuesday, the governor announced that it would be fully funded again in FY 2024.
“Thanks to the historic and unprecedented ANCHOR program, almost 1.7 million more New Jerseyans are now better positioned to pursue their own American Dream, a pursuit that has been too often hindered by high costs of living and affordability constraints,” said Murphy. “As I indicated during my budget address yesterday, that number is merely the beginning and only motivates us to re-double our efforts to support hard-working families throughout the fiscal year.”
According to the administration, more than 1.1 million applications were filed by homeowners and more than 480,000 came from renters.
During a budget briefing this week with reporters, administration officials did not have a firm date for when payments would be issued but said that checks and deposits would be sent no later than May, describing the payment timeline as “late spring.”
Homeowners with incomes up to $150,000 will receive $1,500 in relief; homeowners with incomes over $150,000 and up to $250,000 will receive $1,000; and renters with incomes up to $150,000 will receive $450.
As NJBIZ has previously reported since the program was established last year: Homeowners with incomes up to $150,000 will receive $1,500 in relief; homeowners with incomes over $150,000 and up to $250,000 will receive $1,000; and renters with incomes up to $150,000 will receive $450.
To be eligible for the payment, homeowners and renters must have occupied their primary residence on Oct. 1, 2019, and file or be exempt from N.J. income taxes. Officials say the payments will not be subject to state income tax.
The deadline for the program, which was extended twice, came this past Tuesday.
“Since ANCHOR’s launch in September we have prioritized ensuring every New Jersey taxpayer is aware [of] this program through print, television and billboard advertising, in-person outreach, and social media,” said Muoio. “The success of those efforts is evident in the huge number of eligible taxpayers who have applied. This is an enormous step in our continuing efforts to ensure New Jersey remains affordable for those who call our state home.”
The rollout of the initial phase of the program was not without its challenges, with NJBIZ being told of multiple examples of issues getting through to the ANCHOR call centers. In fact, Murphy’s FY 2024 budget proposal calls for funding to expand that call center.
Still, the milestone announced Wednesday marks an impactful first year for the program.
“My administration has once again responded to the concerns of hard-working families by not offering empty words and promises, but by delivering on the promise of affordable and real property tax relief,” said Murphy.
“In last year’s budget process, we discussed going bigger and bolder with property tax relief and we delivered,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-19th District. “By committing to ANCHOR for a second year, we will send the message: sustained property tax relief is here.”
Michael Putrino, mayor of New Milford, where the announcement was made, said that he was grateful for the program.
“I believe it will go a long way in making tough decisions in the personal budgets of hardworking New Jersey homeowners and renters a little bit easier,” said Putrino.