More and more consumers are shifting some or all of their shopping to local businesses; most say it’s for reasons of economic sustainability. Now a town in New Jersey is taking a giant step toward encouraging local constituents to shop the mom-and-pop stores in their neighborhood: Marlboro Township residents who use the Shop Marlboro card at participating stores earn discounts on their property taxes.
Since the program was rolled out in September, mayor Jonathan Hornik reports that the town has seen more than $200,000 of spending on the cards. If a restaurant offers a 10 percent deal with the card and a resident spends $100 on a meal, she receives a $10 tax rebate on the card. The difference in the bill is supplied to the town, as the credits earned throughout the year are deposited into a dedicated bank account.
The town issues the card free of charge to each homeowner or renter, who must register the card online. The registration process includes submitting a block and lot number to verify the address and tax bill.
Hornik reports that more than 1,200 residents have used the card at more than 40 participating businesses to save a total of $10,000 in property taxes. The mayor himself has trimmed his bill by around $250.
Not surprisingly, several other towns in New Jersey -- a state with some of the highest property tax rates in the nation -- are considering following Marlboro’s lead.