Once a top priority for government leaders in Trenton, property-tax rebates and other direct-relief programs received nearly $3 billion in funding from the state budget a decade ago.
But this year, with Gov. Chris Christie proposing a $32.5 million reduction in funding for direct property-tax relief in his latest, the total will be just over $1 billion unless lawmakers can convince him to allow for an increase before the next fiscal year begins in July.
The reduction comes as Christie, a second-term Republican, in recent years has instead been using revenue growth to ramp up state contributions to the public-employee pension system, which has been another top priority for Democrats who control the Legislature. Christie has also pointed to his efforts to address property-tax increases at their root, including the 2 percent cap on annual property-tax hikes thatpassed on a bipartisan basis in 2010.