Call it the best of both worlds for residents and businesses alike.

A new program pending Governor Murphy's signature would help out businesses stay afloat and help you save money.

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Ocean County Assemblyman Ron Dancer's bill would allow municipalities who opt into what is being called a local merchant loyalty program to lower property tax bills for residents who also opt in and shop locally.

"It provides the opportunity for every municipality to have a loyalty program for its local businesses. They'll have reward cards and individuals will shop local and the more you spend, the more you reduce your property taxes," Dancer tells Townsquare Media News.

There would be a vendor involved, Dancer explains, and the program would be similar to ones already up and running in several towns including Toms River, Lacey, Brick and Point Pleasant.

"They started the programs but they need statutory authority to give reductions on their property tax bills," Dancer said. "When property tax bills are printed and generally mailed sometime in July, these communities will implement the property tax rewards program. It doesn't cost the municipality a thing, the law gives them authorization to make the deduction on your property tax bills."

Dancer explains that the vendor or store owner would submit the amount of discounts you earned by using the rewards card.

"The business owner will provide a discount on purchases and right now in some of these municipalities it varies between 5-percent and I've seen as high as 20-percent on certain sale items, but the amount of discount on the total sale is then transmitted to the municipality and the municipality will then use that money from the discounted purchase to reduce your property tax bill," Dancer said. "The more you shop, the more you save."

It helps you save money and brings foot traffic into small businesses.

"Many businesses now, obviously, want to sign up, they want to have foot traffic, they want to have business and at the same time give an opportunity to people to reduce their property taxes," Dancer said.

You would be able to use this rewards program card at any local business throughout the state, so if you live in Toms River and want to use the card in Belmar, you would be able to do so as long as that business is in the program but perhaps be rewarded in a different way.

"The people that are out of the municipality have the ability under this proposed law to have a cash rebate rather than it being directly credited to lower your property tax bill," Dancer said. "Not everyone is a property owner. We want to make it an incentive for anyone who rents and anyone that may travel to and from different municipalities and either receive the cash rebate or lower your property tax bill."

Governor Murphy has until May 9 to sign this bill/program into law and Dancer is hopeful that he will sign it.

You can follow Vin Ebenau on Twitter and Instagram and email news tips to vin.ebenau@townsquaremedia.com.

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