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October 17, 2012

RE: A-3393 Would Clarify Telecommunications Tax Law Correct Court Decision in Verizon v. Hopewell

Dear Mayor:

As things now stand, over 100 municipalities know they enter 2013 without Business Personal Property Tax (BPPT) revenues that will cost property taxpayers well in excess of $8 million. Unless matters change, more municipalities will lose more millions in the future.

As noted in our October 2 letter (, the Appellate Court has declined to review the June Tax Court preliminary decision in the case of Verizon v. Hopewell. The case, in which the League supported Hopewell as amicus curiae, involved Verizon’s claimed exemption from the BPPT in any municipality where the corporation unilaterally determines, in any given year, that it no longer supplies dial tone and access to at least 51% of the local telephone exchanges. Verizon’s claim had been rejected by the Mercer County Board of Taxation in 2009. The Tax Court reversed that ruling and awarded Verizon the exemption.

On Monday, remedial legislation was introduced by Assemblyman Ralph Caputo. This bill (A-3393) will provide better direction to the courts regarding the legislature’s intent to protect residential property taxpayers, when laws regarding State taxation of telecommunications providers were reformed in 1997.

The League of Municipalities commends Assemblyman Caputo and strongly supports A-3393, which would clarify the law regarding payments of business personal property taxes by any local exchange telephone companies that, in 1997, served 51% of a municipality’s residents.

We anticipate the introduction of companion legislation by Senator Bob Smith, as soon as the Senate next convenes. For now, A-3393 has been referred to the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee.

Please contact your State legislators and urge them to support this clarification of the law. If you have any questions, contact Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121 or

Very truly yours,

Brian Wahler
Mayor Piscataway                               
Member, NJLM Exec. Board
Chair, NJLM Telecommunications Study Committee
William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director



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