State Sen. Jeff Van Drew and two others introduced legislation Monday to repeal all realty transfer fees in New Jersey

“New Jersey residents already pay the highest in the nation taxes on their homes while they own them. They shouldn’t be hit with another tax once they decide to sell," said Sen. Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic. “We are working together to eliminate this unnecessary fee."

The legislation would eliminate the realty transfer fee — and all of the layers that have been added in recent years to the fee — on or before July 1, 2015. Before that date, if the state realizes $300 million in excess revenues over a two-month period, then the repeal can kick in immediately. The bill requires that any programs currently funded by RTF revenues must be covered by other general fund revenues.

Also sponsoring the bill are Diane Allen, R-Burlington and Kevin O'Toole, R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic.

At a town hall meeting earlier this month in Somerset Gov. Chris Christie said he would do away with fees. A question from an audience member about the fee prompted Christie to say he would sign a bill scrapping it.

Christie, a Republican, called the fee "a grab by the government for no good reason," "awful" and, sarcastically, "a great gift" from former Gov. James McGreevey, a Democrat.

The state has projected realty transfer fees will produce $287 million in the current budget and $325 million in next year's budget. The fee is the seventh-largest source of tax revenue, but a small portion of the proposed $34.4 billion budget.

Christie did not say how the revenue would be made up.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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