Governor Chris Christie said he would eliminate New Jersey’s real estate transfer fee, which is projected to raise more than $300 million for the state budget next fiscal year.
The second-term Republican, answering a question at an April 15 town-hall meeting in Somerset, said the fee charged when a property owner sells a home “makes no sense.” He blamed the Democratic-controlled legislature for blocking his efforts to reduce taxes.
“I’d fix it tomorrow if they’d let me,” said Christie, 51. “I’ve suggested all different kinds of ways to reduce taxes in this state, none of which get done. And they don’t get done because they believe that taxes should just continue to go up.”
New Jersey’s property transfer tax has been around since 1968, according to the state website. It was increased in 2003 and 2005 under previous administrations, according to the New Jersey Association of Realtors, which opposes them. The rate varies depending on the value of the property. For a home with a sales price of $299,900, the median in New Jersey last month, the fee would be $1,714, according to the organization.
Democrats have blocked Christie’s efforts to lower taxes as revenue has missed his forecasts for three straight years. Standard & Poor’s lowered New Jersey’s bond rating on April 9, saying it may downgrade the state further if revenue continues to miss Christie’s targets or the state keeps resorting to temporary budget fixes.
Christie’s budget for fiscal 2015, which begins July 1, projects $34.4 billion of revenue, including $325 million from realty transfers.
Most U.S. states have some type of real estate transfer tax, according to the Realtors association.
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