State Sen. Diane Allen (R-Cinnaminson) plans to introduce legislation to repeal New Jersey's realty transfer fees on primary residences.

Tim Boyle, Getty Images
Tim Boyle, Getty Images

"When you sell your home in New Jersey, you're getting whacked by this arbitrary tax, and that's wrong," Allen said in an emailed press release Wednesday. "This initiative will help struggling homeowners, including those who might be facing short sales or foreclosures. It will save property owners across this state a burden of thousands of dollars, which particularly hurts those who have lost equity in their homes due to the economic recession."

The fee, which has been around for decades, is imposed on a homeowner upon selling their house. In some cases, the tax costs homeowners thousands of dollars.

"If you bought a home for $100,000 25 years ago and now you're moving, or you're retiring and suddenly your home is worth $400,000 -- it's not right that you have to pay that kind of tax on that kind of money just because you lived in the house all those years," Allen said.

During a town hall meeting on Tuesday in Somerset, Gov. Chris Christie blasted the tax, calling it "ridiculous" and "a grab by the government."  He said he would sign a bill that scraps the fee if the legislature sent one to his desk.

"I will work with him (Christie) and with other members of the legislature to find something that we can get through that will give people of New Jersey relief," Allen said.

Under Allen's new legislation, the tax would also be eliminated for homeowners facing foreclosures and short sales. Allen said she's heard from several New Jerseyans who said they can't handle the fees.

"They realize that they can no longer live in New Jersey because of other taxes or whatever their issue might be, and suddenly they realize they can't even sell their house because then they would have to pay this whole extra tax on top of it," Allen said.

The state estimated the transfer fee would bring in $325 million during the next fiscal year and $287 million during the current budget cycle.

Dino Flammia contributed to this report.

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