N.J.’s record high property tax bills show a glint of good news

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New Jersey’s average property tax bill hit $8,767 last year, a record for a high-cost state whose residents were stung by President Donald Trump’s cap on deductions for state and local taxes.

The cost marked a 20 percent increase from 2009. But for New Jerseyans who historically have named local property taxes as their biggest aggravation, there was a sign that runaway bills may be abating. For the first time in at least a decade, one-year growth fell below 1 percent, according to a Bloomberg analysis of state Department of Community Affairs data. Five times since 2009, annual growth had exceeded 2 percent.

Trump’s $10,000 limit on residents’ deductions on their federal tax returns is being felt widely in the Garden State. It may also make it harder for New Jersey to balance its budget this year because income-tax revenue has fallen short of expectations after some people shifted income into 2017 before the tax overhaul took effect. The state treasury has said it will have a clearer picture of whether it is a temporary shortfall after the April 15 filing deadline, when a revenue wave typically arrives.

In a Feb. 12 Monmouth University poll, 45 percent of residents said property taxes were the most important issue facing the state. A second survey, released on Feb. 25, found that residents have an all-time low view of New Jersey’s quality of life, a topic polled by the university since 2010.

Bloomberg News
Property taxes Tax reform SALT deduction Trump tax plan