The township of Marlboro, N.J. is giving residents a break on their property taxes if they shop at local stores.
"Every local elected official has to do their part to help us get out of this recession and help local businesses," said Marlboro Mayor Jonathan Hornik. "We're doing our part, which we hope will increase the number of customers coming to these establishments."
Launched in Sept. 2012, the "Shop Marlboro Campaign" allows local businesses to offer shoppers a chance to have a percentage of their purchase go toward their property tax bill.
The town has issued 1,700 reward cards, in conjunction with a consumer financial company called FinCorp and a local bank, Investors Bank.
The 38 participating businesses can choose whatever percent discount they choose to shoppers with the reward cards. It will cut into stores' margins, but the store gains a customer, and the shopper saves at tax time.
So far, the participating businesses have offered property tax credits from 2 to 16 percent off shopping bills.
"I have a card in my wallet, and say I have a $100 bill at a store," Hornik said. "With a 10 percent break, the retailer will make sure $10 of those dollars are a credit on my tax bill."
Residents can pick up a rewards card at the Marlboro Town Hall and the local Investors Bank.
There have been 130,000 transactions under the program so far, saving shoppers $8,000 total on property taxes. The next tax bills in Marlboro are due in February.
Hornik said he believes this is the first program of its kind.
"I think it's a success and I think it will continue to be a success," said Hornik, adding that he has personally saved $254 on his property taxes by shopping locally.
He said he hopes the program will continue to grow.
"We have 41,000 residents. I would like to see the number grow from 1,700 participants," Hornik said.