Winter tax break for NJ home heating fuels? Lawmakers float plan
TRENTON – A newly proposed bill would exempt natural gas and electricity for New Jersey residential customers from sales taxes during the winter.
The sponsors of the legislation said the bill, S3354, is needed because rate hikes that took effect last month raised the price for some natural gas customers by 25%.
Sen. Joseph Pennacchio, R-Morris, said he “won’t tolerate the state reaping revenue rewards” from the higher prices.
“The Board of Public Utilities approved the massive price hike, and the state unfairly profits from the high cost of home heating,” Pennacchio said. “It is not fair to families who are already struggling in a threatening fiscal environment.”
“Adding sales tax on top of the exploding rates rubs salt in the wounds for state residents who are caught in an economic whirlpool,” said Sen. Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth.
Prices have increased 24.5% for PSE&G, 22.9% for Elizabethtown Gas, 18.6% for South Jersey Gas and 15.8% for New Jersey Natural Gas.
Seventy-three percent of New Jersey households, more than 2.5 million out of 3.5 million, rely on natural gas delivered by utilities for home heating, according to Census Bureau estimates.
Sixteen percent heat with electricity, around 555,000 homes.
Seven percent use fuel oil, around 240,000 homes, and 2%, around 87,000, use propane or other bottled gas. Those home-heating fuel sources are not taxed.
The most common types of home-heating fuel vary in different sections of New Jersey, though in 11 of the 21 counties at least 90% of homes are heated with natural gas or electricity and would benefit from such a wintertime tax exemption.