Far Reaching Proposal Would Lower Property Taxes, Cut Waste, Keep College Within Reach 

Willingboro -- Assemblymen Herb Conaway and Troy Singleton and Gary Catrambone for Senate today unveiled their 7-point Affordability Agenda, a pro-taxpayer plan to help South Jersey’s middle-class families keep more of their own money. 

The proposal would include a direct cut in property taxes, the creation of a comprehensive health care database so consumers can make more educated choices in care, allowing college graduates to pay off their loans through work, and requiring the state to take an annual audit of New Jersey’s overall affordability, among other things. 

“If we want to remain competitive, we need to get a firm handle on New Jersey’s high cost of living so that middle-class families can continue to call it home,” said Assemblyman Conaway. “These are common sense approaches to making our state more affordable, and removing some of the roadblocks that are holding us back.” 

“These are by no means the only things we can or should be doing, but they are easily within our grasp if we just commit ourselves to a more affordable future,” said Assemblyman Singleton. “I want my own kids to be able to afford to stay here and call New Jersey home, and raise their own families here. We need to start now, before costs go even higher.” 

The multi-point agenda would:

• Return to towns the more than $330 million they are owed from the state’s Energy Tax Receipts Property Tax Relief Fund to directly reduce property taxes;

• Increase to $15,000 (from its current $10,000) the annual income limitation for seniors and residents with disabilities to receive a $250 property tax deduction;

• Establish a comprehensive statewide health insurance database to not only improve transparency in researching health care costs, but to also identify trends for improving efficiencies in the health care system, and provide clear, unbiased information to help ensure informed decisions by consumers, health care providers, and insurers;

• Creating a Loan Redemption Program for college graduates to work off their higher education debts by working in fields in which there is a noted shortage of qualified professionals, such as nursing or engineering;

• Limit the amount consumers could be charged in fees for using a prepaid debit card;

• Establish a statewide public awareness campaign about new federally required health insurance exchange, which may allow residents to purchase more cost-effective and less costly health insurance;

• Require a detailed annual state debt affordability analysis, to map out for lawmakers and taxpayers how the state plans to pay down its debt over a 10-year period. 

In proposing their Affordability Agenda, Conaway, Singleton and Catrambone also reiterated their support for a bipartisan 10-percent property tax cut for middle-class families that is currently pending in the Legislature. Conaway and Singleton also noted their recent support for the new state budget, which did not raise any taxes and also committed more than $500 million in tax relief for businesses to create new jobs and economic opportunity. 

“A lot of time and energy has been spent over the past several years making our state more welcoming and competitive for new business, but we can’t allow those successes to overshadow the middle-class families already living in our own communities who also need a break,” said Catrambone. “These are some common sense solutions to very vexing problems facing our state, and our neighbors. We need to come together now and get this agenda in place so it can begin to make a real difference for families all across Burlington County, and the entire state.”