Legislation Will Support Property Tax Relief By Guaranteeing Exemption For Companies Under Contract With School Districts.

Senator Steve Oroho (R-Sussex) and Senator Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen) announced today they will introduce legislation to exempt all buses carrying pupils to and from school or school-sponsored activities or events from payment of motor fuel taxes.

“Exempting private bus carriers under contract with school districts from paying motor fuel taxes closes a loophole in the existing law and will provide long-term property tax relief for residents in every county,” said Senator Oroho, who teamed up with Senator Sarlo to sponsor the recently passed Transportation Trust Fund legislation. “If private bus companies that carry commuters under contract with NJ Transit are exempt from motor fuel taxes, why should private bus companies under contract to carry schoolchildren be treated any differently?”

“This is just another step in ensuring that the Transportation Trust Fund provides maximum property tax relief to our residents,” said Senator Sarlo. “Doubling state aid to counties and municipalities for road and bridge construction work provides $400 million a year in direct property tax relief, and this bill will add to that number.”

Senator Sarlo noted that fire engines, ambulances and emergency vehicles are already exempt from motor fuel taxes, whether they are owned by municipalities or by volunteer fire departments and first aid squads.

Senator Oroho said the bill would provide needed clarification for the state Department of Education and state Division of Taxation, which were unsure whether school districts would be allowed to purchase motor fuel tax-free for use by the private carriers. “This bill plainly clarifies that private bus operators can claim the exemption from the motor fuels tax, which will ultimately benefit taxpayers,” Senator Oroho said.

The legislation specifically limits the motor fuels tax exemption to gasoline used during the transportation of pupils to or from school or a school-sponsored activity or event by firms or individuals under contract with a public school district, governmental agency, religious or charitable organization or corporation. Private companies claiming the exemption are required to apply for refunds for motor fuel taxes that they can prove they have previously paid.

Assemblymen Wayne DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex) and Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) have signed as lead sponsors for the legislation in the Assembly.