These towns will give you a property tax break for buying locally
You hate taxes but love buying stuff. So what's better than reducing your tax burden by purchasing a slice of pizza or new floors for the house?
A growing number of New Jersey municipalities are introducing property tax rebate cards into the community — an idea birthed by Marlboro Township in 2012.
Residents register cards with their homes, and when they present their cards upon making a purchase at participating businesses, portions of those purchase are eventually shaved off their third-quarter property tax bills.
Since May 2016, Union Township residents realized $4,350 in property tax savings as of February with the Union VIP card, according to Fatimah Raymond, executive director of the town's Special Improvement District.
"I would like to see that number grow, but that really comes with more businesses signing on, more people shopping locally," Raymond said.
Nestled between three major highways, Raymond said, their downtown area gets "lost." So this program encourages residents to shop local and, in turn, invest in their town.
Rebate rates range from 0.4 percent at the Delta gas station to 11.25 percent at Union's United Taekwondo Academy.
Participating businesses in Brick have brought in $1.6 million worth of card-related sales since Buy in Brick launched in October 2014. More than 12,000 cards have been issued, saving taxpayers over $120,000, according to Mayor John Ducey.
"Somebody actually had their mother's repast at one of our participating merchants and had over a $250 credit on their tax bill from that one transaction," Ducey said.
Involved businesses also receive free advertising, Ducey noted. Program signs along township roads tell shoppers where they can see a return on their spending, and mailers inform residents of each merchant's rebate offerings.
More than anyone else in the township, Marlboro Mayor John Hornik managed to gather $600 in property tax savings a few years ago by using the Shop Marlboro card. Since 2012, residents shaved a total of $230,000 off their property taxes.
According to Hornik, his administration worked with a private entity to create the first-of-its-kind program in the nation.
"For too long, businesses in all these towns have gone without the help of local government," Hornik said.
Shop Marlboro has meant $4 million in business for participating restaurants, shops and service centers.
Haddonfield, Ocean, Old Bridge, Somerdale and West Orange are a sample of other New Jersey municipalities with a card program in place.
Hornik said "every township and city in New Jersey" should adopt a program like this that's a win-win-win for residents, businesses and the municipality.
"Nobody owns a patent or a copyright on a good idea when you're a municipal leader or an elected official. The way we all become better is if you share it," he said.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at email@example.com.