(The Center Square) — New Jersey is issuing tax rebates to more than 800,000 residents under a new program aimed at blunting the impact of skyrocketing local property taxes.

The rebates are being provided through the ANCHOR (Affordable New Jersey Communities for Homeowners and Renters) tax relief program, which was approved by Gov. Phil Murphy and lawmakers as part of the fiscal year 2023 budget. 

Murphy said the rebates come as New Jersey taxpayers are "facing increasing pressure on their wallets" and follows through on his campaign pledge to take steps to make the Garden State more affordable. 

"This is real relief getting sent to more of our hardworking taxpayers than ever before, proof that a future we are determined to make more affordable and full of opportunity is possible," the Democrat said in a statement. 

More than 1.7 million New Jersey homeowners and renters applied for rebates, which are available to those who lived in their primary residences on Oct. 1, 2019, according to the state Division of Taxation. To be eligible, applicants must file or be exempt from New Jersey income taxes.

The rebates range from $1,000 for homeowners who earned between $150,000 and $250,000 in 2019, and $1,500 for homeowners who earned up to $150,000 in 2019. Renters who earned up to $150,000 in 2019 may be eligible for a $450 rebate, under the program. 

The Murphy administration said the majority of payments will be issued before May 3, 2023, but said applications requiring additional information will take more time to finalize.

The program replaces New Jersey’s former property tax relief program, Homestead, which provided 470,000 homeowners with an average of $626 per eligible household. 

Renters weren't eligible for tax breaks under the Homestead program, but the ANCHOR program acknowledges that rents are often raised to offset rising property taxes.

The deadline for the ANCHOR program, which was initially Dec. 31, was extended several times amid concerns that eligible residents weren't aware of the tax rebates.

Murphy said the rebates are part of a broader effort to reduce the state's high tax burden and cost of living to attract more families and businesses. He has proposed $2 billion in funding as part of his budget proposal for the next fiscal year to keep the tax rebate program going. 

New Jersey has one of the highest property tax burdens in the nation, with homeowners paying an average of $9,112 in property taxes in 2020, up from $8,953 in 2019, according to state data. 

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, said tax relief is a "priority" for legislative leaders and boasted that ANCHOR is the "largest property tax relief program in state history."

“We made property tax relief a top priority in our budget and we delivered the largest property tax relief program in state history. The ANCHOR Program expanded eligibility to more families and increased the amount given to historic highs,” said. “As we continue to make New Jersey more affordable, we will build on this success.”

Originally published on thecentersquare.com, part of the BLOX Digital Content Exchange.