New Jersey lawmakers on Wednesday approved a health insurance tax credit that will give families up to $3.5 million in tax-free savings.
The House of Representatives approved a bill by Assemblywoman Sara Taylor, R-Trenton, to provide $3 million in annual tax credits to families earning up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level for the first two years of coverage.
The credits would be refundable if a family makes at least $125,000.
If approved, the bill would provide an additional $1.6 million in subsidies over five years.
The Senate approved the measure, which is expected to go to Gov.
Chris Christie, by a 56-41 vote.
The tax credit would help people like Jodi Murguia who earn $37,000 and have a combined annual income of about $125.
They would qualify for the $3 billion tax credit, which would begin in 2020.
Murguias mother, Ann, has been struggling to keep up with medical bills.
She has had to take care of a family member and needs a second job to help pay the bills.
The credit would apply to all family members in the same household.
The state has a long-standing goal of making health insurance affordable for everyone, but many have been disappointed by how much they pay in premiums.
The current federal tax credit amount for families earning between $125 and $250,000 is about $1,400.
The credit would be $3 on top of that.
The House bill would give families $3 in 2018.
Muddying the waters for families who earn more than $250 million, many Republicans in the state said the tax credit could help pay for a tax cut for those earning $200 million or more.
Rep. Anthony Bocanegra, R and a former executive at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said it was important to allow people to get a tax credit if they earn more, but it was not enough.
The bill also includes a tax credits for people making $75,000 a year, which the Republican majority supported.
Bocanegras amendment, introduced in June, would have extended the credit for those with a household income of $75.9 million or less.