Explainer: Sorting Through the State’s Property-Tax Relief Programs

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 state budget proposal, 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 that he and lawmakers passed on a bipartisan basis in 2010.

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