Volume 13 Issue 5 - Monday, March 28, 2022

NJ earns first credit upgrade since 2005, Governor Murphy unveils ANCHOR Property Tax Relief Program, Sweeney Center for Public Policy launched at Rowan University & more

NJ earns first credit upgrade since 2005: On Wednesday, Moody’s Investor Services announced that it is upgrading New Jersey’s general obligation bonds to an A2 credit rating from A3, with a “stable” outlook. Bond ratings are significant, as the grade is an indicator of credit quality — or the creditworthiness of corporate or government bonds.

The upgrade is the state’s first since 2005 and an indication that the steps Goernor. Phil Murphy has been taking against the state’s debt are viewed positively.

The ratings agency, citing the steps the state has taken to “aggressively” address liability burdens, also upgraded the state’s related subject-to-appropriation bond ratings by one notch (to A3 from Baa1) for bonds financing essential-purpose projects, and by one notch (to Baa1 from Baa2) for bonds financing less-essential projects.

“Our efforts to build New Jersey’s credit rating back up from decades of downgrades have yielded another positive result. This proves that facing our challenges head on — rather than delaying and deferring — is the best way to get our house in order,” said Governor Murphy. 

Governor Murphy unveils ANCHOR Property Tax Relief Program:

This week, Governor Murphy announced the formation of the ANCHOR Property Tax Relief Program, a new initiative that will replace the Homestead Rebate and will distribute $900 million in property tax relief to nearly 1.8 million homeowners and renters across the state during Fiscal Year 2023.

Under the ANCHOR Property Tax Relief Program, homeowners making up to $250,000 per year are eligible to receive an average $700 rebate in FY2023 to offset property tax costs, Also, renters making up to $100,000 per year are eligible for a rebate up to $250 to help defray the cost of rent increases due to property taxes.

Sweeney Center for Public Policy launched at Rowan University: Rowan University President Ali Houshmand announced the creation of the Steve Sweeney Center for Public Policy, which will be housed on the university’s Gloucester County campus. The center’s mission is to conduct “evidence-based research, support workforce development and formulate answers to New Jersey’s most complex policy issues.”

Rowan, which was already planning to establish a policy center focused on New Jersey issues in 2021, now offers a graduate degree in public policy.

Mark Magyar, who served as Sweeney’s Senate policy director, has been appointed as the center's founding director. Magyar is also expected to teach courses in state and local government as well as in public finance.

New Legislator Profile: Assemblywoman Ellen J. Park: Assemblywoman Park was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in November 2021, having previously served on the Englewood Cliffs Borough Council from 2016-2018. She received her BA from New York University and a JD from Hofstra University School of Law. 

Assemblywoman Park serves on the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance and Science, Innovation and Technology Committees.