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January 14, 2010

RE: Court Grants League Status In Telecommunications Tax Case

Dear Mayor:

New Jersey Tax Court Judge Gail Menyuk has granted our motion to appear as amicus, in the case of Verizon – New Jersey, Inc. versus Borough of Hopewell. We had advised you of our application to the Court in our letter of December 2, 2009. (http://www.njslom.org/ml120209-verizon.html)

This case will test Verizon’s claimed exemption from local business personal property taxes, in those municipalities where it claims to no longer supply dial tone to a majority of the telephone market.

In granting our motion to appear as a ‘friend of the Court,’ Judge Menyuk acknowledged the League’s identity as the representative of municipalities throughout the state, and found that the issues in this case are of public importance in terms of both revenue and the constitutional validity of the BPPT statute. She further found that the League’s motion was timely, that no party would be unduly prejudiced by its participation, and that the League will assist the Court in addressing the far reaching effects of the Court’s decision. Finally, she stated that the League’s participation will be helpful because the League has a broader point of view than a single municipality.

Verizon’s brief in response to Hopewell’s motion for partial summary judgment is due March 1. The Court has scheduled a conference call on March 4, to discuss when additional briefs are to be filed.

We commend and thank the League’s Special Utility Counsel, Joel L. Shain, Esq., for his guidance and advocacy on this. We will keep you posted of further developments. If you have any questions, contact Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121.

Very truly yours,

Hon Brian Wahler                                                                  William G. Dressel, Jr.
Mayor, Piscataway                                                                 Executive Director 
Member, League Executive Board
Chair, League Telecommunications Taxation Task Force


 

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