Business Report: Funds for arts organizations, OMNIA litigation settlement, IRS refunds

Gov. Murphy signed a bill that will administer $15 million in federal relief money to organizations hurt by the pandemic

New Jersey’s arts and cultural organizations are getting financial help. Gov. Phil Murphy has signed a bill that calls on the EDA to administer $15 million in federal relief money to organizations hurt by the pandemic. The bill, signed Thursday, is part of a package of legislation providing $100 million in assistance to businesses across the state.

Meantime, there’s even more help available for arts and entertainment companies. The application period has opened for the Shuttered Venue Grant program, which will provide financial assistance to movie theatres, museums and live performing arts venues. Over $16 billion in grant money is available through this federal program, which is being run by the Small Business Administration.

A long-running legal dispute between St. Peter’s University Hospital and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield is over. The New Brunswick hospital had sued Horizon in 2015 over the insurer’s OMNIA health plans. St. Peter’s fought to be considered a top-tier provider under those plans, and now it will be, under the settlement agreement that was reached. Attorneys had said a lower tier designation would have cost the hospital millions of dollars. This settlement ends all litigation against Horizon over its OMNIA plans. Eight hospitals had sued the insurer over being classified as tier 2 health centers.

The IRS says it’s got $1.3 billion in unclaimed refunds for an estimated 1.3 million people who never filed their returns for the 2017 tax year. The IRS says nearly 35,000 New Jersey residents still have to file those returns. Once they do, they’ll receive refunds averaging about $900.

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