Murphy appoints new task force designed to cut property bills in half for New Jersey seniors

A new task force charged with cutting property tax bills in half for New Jersey seniors has been created, according to a Monday announcement from the Governor’s Office.

Designed to offer recommendations to implement the new StayNJ property tax relief program, six of New Jersey’s highly regarded public servants have been assigned to review all of the state’s existing property tax relief programs and present a report to Gov. Phil Murphy and the Legislature no later than May 30, 2024.

Under the law, which was sponsored by Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge) and Senate President Nick Scutari (D-Clark) and signed by the governor as part of the Fiscal Year 2024 budget process, the six-member task force will consist of:

  • The state treasurer, or the state treasurer’s designee: Deputy State Treasurer Aaron Binder;
  • The commissioner of community affairs, or the commissioner’s designee: Dr. Christopher Wheeler, chief data officer, Department of Community Affairs;
  • One public member appointed by the governor, who may be an Executive Branch employee: chief policy adviser Dennis Zeveloff, Governor’s Office;
  • One public member recommended by the Senate president: Jessica Cohen, former director of public policy for the Senate president;
  • One public member recommended by the Assembly speaker: Woodbridge Mayor and former state Treasurer John McCormac;
  • One public member jointly recommended by the Senate president and the Assembly speaker: Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp.

“Dennis Zeveloff has worked to advance my policy agenda since day one of this administration. Aaron Binder has helped manage a $50 billion budget after years overseeing public policy for the Legislature. Dr. Chris Wheeler is an esteemed research economist for the department tasked with overseeing local property taxes,” Murphy said. “Cumulatively, the members of this task force bring a wealth of public policy experience to the table, particularly when it comes to the impact property taxes have on our local communities. I have no doubt they will serve the state and our residents well as we work together to make New Jersey a more affordable place to not only raise a family, but to age in place surrounded by our loved ones.”

“StayNJ will be transformative for all families planning for the future, with historic property tax relief for seniors,” Coughlin said. “We need to ensure this program launches smoothly, with a seamless application process and system for benefit distribution. That’s why I am pleased to appoint Mayor McCormac to the StayNJ Task Force. His depth of experience will be invaluable. His service as state treasurer and his 17 years as mayor — particularly his innovative initiatives for Woodbridge seniors — make him uniquely qualified for this role. Mayor Mapp, the joint legislative appointment, brings even more expertise to the table with his decades of experience in local government, public finance and his training as a Certified Public Accountant.”

Under StayNJ, eligible seniors with a gross income under $500,000 will receive a credit of 50% on the annual property tax bill for their principal residence, up to $6,500.

The governor also announced that David Ridolfino — who retired several years ago as director of the state’s Office of Management and Budget after serving the Department of the Treasury for more than three decades — will be employed by the task force as executive director and assisted by staff from the Treasury Department.