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August 26, 2014

Re: Weekly Summer Update

I.    A-366 and S-1713 - Protects Municipal Business Personal Property Tax Revenue
II.   Deter Scrap Metal Theft, S-833 & A-3558
III. Municipal Disposition of Vehicles, S-186 & A-3409

Dear Mayor:

I.  A-366 and S-1713 - Protects Municipal Business Personal Property Tax Revenue

A-366 and S-1713 are companion bills meant to clarify the application of the business personal property tax on local exchange telephone companies that were subject to the tax as of April 1, 1997.  From 2009, to date, Verizon has claimed a Business Personal Property Tax (BPPT) exemption in over 100 municipalities. We expect more and more municipalities to lose this funding in the coming years.

The Tax Court in Verizon New Jersey Inc. v. Hopewell Borough, decided June 26, 2012, has incorrectly interpreted the plain meaning of the language of the statutory change made in 1997.  That statutory change was intended to grandfather into the local property tax base the business personal property of all incumbent local exchange companies that were then subject to that tax and were telecommunications carriers then meeting the one time definition, not an annual redefinition, of providing dial tone and access to 51% of a local telephone exchange.

To date, Verizon has informed over 100 municipalities that it will no longer pay tax on its business personal property, based on its own determination that it does not provide dial tone service to 51% of a local exchange.  The business personal property tax base was not intended to be eroded by annual assertions by taxpayers that the majority of municipal residents might be shifting their service among local exchange carrier competitors that had not been subject to that tax at the time of the 1997 change.  This bill will restore the intended local property tax status quo intended to be determined in 1997.

Please contact your State Legislators and urge them to co-sponsor this initiative. Support for these bills will provide municipalities with the assurance of property tax relief resources, without putting any further strain on the State’s limited reserves.

Contact: Jon Moran at jmoran@njslom.com or 609-695-3481, ext. 121.

II. Deter Scrap Metal Theft, S-833 & A-3558

The League supports S-833 and A-3558, which proposes revisions to the laws concerning the purchase of scrap metal.   League Conference Resolution 2013-4 called for legislation to deter scrap metal theft.  In the 2012 legislative session, similar legislation was approved by both Houses but was vetoed by the Governor.   In the current session,  S-833, sponsored by Senators Norcross and Turner, was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee and is now referenced to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. Its Assembly companion, A-3558 is sponsored by Assemblyman Gusciora, and is referenced to the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee.

Contact: Mike Cerra at mcerra@njslom.com or 609-695-3481, ext. 120.

III. Municipal Disposition of Vehicles, S-186 & A-3409

The League supports S-186  and A-3409,  which would  permit a municipality to sell at public auction a motor vehicle impounded by a law enforcement agency for a violation of Title 39 of the New Jersey statutes if the owner of the impounded motor vehicle fails to claim the motor vehicle within 60 days.     The League’s support results from League Conference Resolution 2013-14, Regarding the Municipal Disposition of Vehicles.”  

S-186, sponsored by Senators Whelan and Hozapfel, was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee and stands at 2nd reading in the Senate. The Assembly companion, A-3409, sponsored by Assemblyman Mazzeo, and is referenced to the Assembly Housing and Government Committee. Similar legislation, A-922, sponsored by Assemblymen Chris C. Brown and Thomas Giblin is referenced to the Assembly Transportation Committee.

Contact: Lori Buckelew at lbuckelew@njslom.com or 609-695-3481, ext. 112.

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

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