Sarlo-Cryan Bill Would Extend Grace Period for Tax Appeals

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May 7, 2020 Press Office
  (609) 847-3700 

Trenton – Acting to provide homeowners with more time to appeal tax assessments because of the disruption of the COVID crisis, the Senate Budget Committee today approved legislation authored by the committee’s chairman, Senator Paul Sarlo, and Senator Joe Cryan that would lengthen the deadline by as much as three months. 

 The bill, S-2387, would temporarily change filing deadlines for most tax appeals to July 1 this year and would require county boards of taxation to make decisions on the appeals by September 30. A property’s tax assessment is based on its value as of October 1 of the prior year. The deadlines to file appeals fall between April 1 and May 1 for most types of appeals and county tax boards normally have until June 30 to render decisions.

“The COVID shutdown made it difficult, if not impossible, for many taxpayers to file their appeals by the deadlines which normally fall between April 1 and May 1, a period when many government offices were closed to visitors,” said Senator Sarlo (D-Bergen). “This will provide tax payers more time to file appeals and ensures that decisions will be rendered this year so that successful appellants can receive refunds this year. This is a temporary move in response to the crisis we are all experiencing.”

 The extension of the deadline to file an appeal of property tax assessments would be temporary only for tax year 2020.   

 “The extent and duration of the current public health emergency could mean that property tax appeals for the current tax year may not be resolved until 2021, which could create a backlog of appeals that may ultimately delay their resolution,” said Senator Cryan (D-Union). “This bill would establish a date certain for filing appeals so that residents and local officials can better manage their finances during these difficult times.”

The Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an Order on March 19 indefinitely extending all filing deadlines for 2020 tax year appeals to the New Jersey Tax Court and the county boards of taxation. However, the extension has caused concern among both tax payers and local officials that many appeals may not be resolved until 2021, which could create a backlog, delay refunds and negatively impact municipal budgets. The bill would take effect immediately upon enactment and apply retroactively to April 1, 2020.

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Sarlo-Ruiz Bill Would Offer ‘Bridge Year’ to Students Losing Time to School Shutdown

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May 7, 2020 Press Office
  (609) 847-3700 

Trenton – Students who are losing time crucial to their academic careers due to COVID-19 school closings would be offered the opportunity of a “bridge year,” under terms of legislation sponsored by Senator Paul Sarlo and Senate President Pro Tempore M. Teresa Ruiz that was approved by the Senate Budget Committee today.

The bill, S-2383, would have the Commissioner of Education establish a three-year “Bridge Year Pilot Program” for students graduating high school in 2021 and 2022 and were impacted by public health state of emergency caused by coronavirus disease 2019.

“This year’s sophomores and juniors will miss learning time crucial to their future,” said Senator Sarlo, (D-Bergen). “The third and fourth marking periods were just ripped away from these kids. Losing in-person instruction for challenging college preparatory classes can negatively impact their grades and hurt their chances of being admitted to a more competitive college or receiving a scholarship.”  

While the plan could aid student athletes, Senator Sarlo said it is “academically driven” because it provides the opportunity to go to college as a non-matriculated student at a reduced rate to take courses that will prepare them for a four-year college, retake SATs to improve their scores and return to their high school to play a spring sport or participate in a school activity they missed out on this year.

“We understand this has been hard on students for a variety of reasons, and it is important we are taking into account all aspects of a student’s academic experiences when working to mitigate the impact of COVID-19,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “The sophomore and junior year are crucial to the college application process, unfortunately, students’ abilities to prepare for standardized tests and tour campuses have been deeply disrupted. The bridge year can provide students the opportunity to retake SATs and carefully consider their college decision while completing gen-ed courses and gaining valuable experience from high school extracurriculars. We hope to mirror the intent of this throughout K through 12, and will continue looking for innovative solutions to bridge the learning loss.”

The bridge year would benefit students by retaining eligibility for school activities important to career opportunities, such as drama clubs, filmmaking, foreign language clubs and intra-murals.  

At the county college, they would pay $145 per credit plus minimal lab fees. The credits would be transferable to any New Jersey public institution and to private or out-of-state schools that choose to accept them. Students pursuing a bridge year would be eligible for grants and scholarships under the tuition aid program or the NJSTARS program if they meet all other eligibility requirements.  

Under the proposal, students would only be able to play spring sports for the school they attended junior year and must meet the age participation requirements of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Association. They would have to declare for the bridge year before the beginning of the second semester of their senior year. 

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