New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently stated he would do what is necessary to make the state’s egregiously high property taxes more affordable. The promise was made in the governor’s first major speech following his re-election. The statement comes on the heels of ever-rising property taxes that have made it difficult for some local NJ homeowners to make ends meet.

Details About Murphy’s Property Tax Promise

Gov. Murphy’s logic in keeping taxes down is that it will help stimulate the economy during a time in which small businesses are struggling to bounce back as the pandemic rages on. Furthermore, home prices have increased by significant margins across the past two years, meaning aggregate property taxes have also increased, creating quite the onerous financial burden on new home buyers. Murphy made no secret of what he views as his administration’s significant accomplishments on both the economy and taxation in comments made this past Thursday. He also promised to cooperate with local leaders to make the Garden State that much more affordable for everyday people looking to own a home.

The comments were made in Murphy’s first meaningful public address following a strenuous re-election bid. Murphy spoke in front of a sizable audience consisting of elected leaders, municipal officials and others at Atlantic City’s League of Municipalities yearly convention. He went on to state he believes the state is now “moving forward” and is committed to keep it pointed in that direction. Murphy’s speech also discussed subjects that were raised amidst his re-election campaign in what turned out to be a contest that proved much more competitive than his internal team and political pundits anticipated.

New Jersey Residents are Looking for a Property Tax Break

Murphy ended up edging out Republican Jack Ciattarelli in a close rase. Ciattarelli shelled out millions of dollars for ads that lambasted Murphy on his arguably questionable record on property taxes. The property tax issue is a sore spot as New Jersey homeowners largely feel as though they are overtaxed for simply owning property. Polls revealed property taxes were the top issue among the local electorate in the months leading up to the election. In fact, polling also showed property taxes were more important to New Jersey taxpayers than the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

It is particularly damning that polls revealed the New Jersey taxpayers reported having more of a rapport with Ciattarelli than Murphy in the context of handling taxes. However, those same polls also revealed Murphy was more trusted on handling the issue of the pandemic. Murphy ended up emerging victorious in the race for the Governor position, a race that was called a full 24 hours prior to the closing of the polls. Murphy emerged with slightly more than a three-point edge on Ciattarelli.

Murphy and his staff have insisted that the work they did in his initial term is what made him the better of the two candidates. Though Murphy has let up on the push for ever-increasing property taxes, he made it clear that he will continue governing the same way in the context of other issues. The Governor went out of his way to state his economic development policies will help the local economy grow, spur redevelopment and ultimately make the Garden State a much more affordable place to live and own property.

Murphy’s administration is quick to highlight his accomplishments including $700 million of grants and loans for small businesses. More important is the fact that Murphy’s team has shifted the focus to its property tax relief efforts in recent weeks. The Murphy administration has provided relief in the form of tens of billions of dollars form New Jersey’s Property Tax Relief Fund. In the Governor’s first term, his administration has invested more money in the form of property tax relief than any other term in the entire history of the state.

The Push for Property Tax Changes Continues

Murphy admitted he would like to continue making progress in the context of property taxes. He insisted he is favorable toward a small increase in property taxes that eventually leads to meaningful decreases. The push for additional state funding provided to local schools has the potential to reduce property taxes all the more.

In excess of half of New Jersey residents have seen their property taxes increased in order to pay for local schools. If Murphy’s promise to lower property taxes holds true, the state’s middle-class will become that much stronger, setting the stage for more affordable home ownership made possible through a meaningful property tax reduction in the years ahead.

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