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Nutley Fighting Loss of Telephone Tax Revenue

In the wake of Roche Pharmaceuticals leaving, Nutley Commissioners vote to join a lawsuit with Hopewell Township and other state municipalities to stop loss of $200,000 in Verizon taxes.

The Nutley Board of Commissioners voted this week to join a lawsuit with Hopewell Township and the New Jersey League of Municipalities to keep from losing $200,000 in taxes from Verizon.

Because the number of residents using land lines has dropped, the company has notified the township it no longer expects to pay taxes on its telephone pole and electrical lines, said Commissioner Thomas Evans, the director of the township’s Dept. of Revenue and Finance

"People are changing from dial tone landlines in their houses to cell phones, and when the percentage of homes dropped below 50 percent this year, Verizon notified us that there is no longer a personal, tangible tax attached," Evans said. "The phone company recognizes that technology is changing, and they don't want to pay, but the poles are still there."

So, the commissioners are joining Hopewell and the state League of Municipalities in suing to keep from losing the revenue, Evans said.

Verizon fell below 50 percent with its landlines in 61 municipalities at the end of 2011, and 48 were notified this year that the taxes will not be paid, he said.

This all stems from a state statute enacted nearly 30 years ago, Evans said, so Nutley's state representatives have been told about the change and asked to intervene. State Assemblyman Ralph Caputo said Wednesday he has been told about the problem and is working with his colleagues to draft a change. 

In the meantime, Nutley paid $220 to join the Hopewell lawsuit, which was denied in a lower court but is being appealed, Evans said.

Mayor Alphonse Petracco said this lost tax money hurts worse because of Roche leaving."This is the last thing we need right now," Petracco said. "This is not good news, but we are all working diligently to collect the same amount or better yet, a greater amount of tax revenue, from Roche and the entire town."

This possible Verizon tax revenue loss comes as Nutley officials respond to Roche Pharmaceuticals decision in June to leave and take more than $9 million in tax revenues.

Commissioner Steven Rogers said, "We are working with Hopewell and the state to address this, but the bottom line right now is that Verizon is not required to pay where the percentage drops below 50 percent." 

Evans said that technology has changed, so now the statute has to change and the lost revenue be found somewhere else.

"I have a land line myself, and I rarely use it," he said. "So that's why this requires an action on the state level, and an alternative tax that comes in to take the place of this one." 

A September 23, 2012 at 01:49 AM
That's surprising since you need a landline for the home alarm system and Nutley has more single family homes. I guess they don't alarm systems
billyubob September 24, 2012 at 12:39 PM
All of the communcation Companies have been over pricing our land lines in hope of what is happening now,so more people will drop they home lines. They have MADE us get into "Smart phones and buy the 4G package so where else can u save money but drop your land lines.
mickeymouse September 25, 2012 at 11:53 PM
ask verizon how its fiber network gets to the homes ?
Lynn November 30, 2012 at 04:27 AM
Another thing...try going from a copper telephone landline to Cablevision's Optimum triple play digital service and then wanting to go back to your same telephone number on a landline...absolutely impossible...how's that for technology? Cable company does not tell the customer that one...i found out through experience...no electricity, no telephone service...who wants to keep the modem and router on 24/7?? ... except for an additional charge a back up battery can be utilized for a few hours of service, big deal...that is progress???? :-/

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