Dem lawmakers to soak New Jersey businesses and homeowners as they brace for new tax … ON RAIN

New Jersey residents and business owners are bracing for an imminent new tax on something they are powerless to control.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy is poised to sign a new bill approved by the New Jersey Senate and Assembly that will be taxing…the rain.

The new legislation, inspired by former President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency, allows the state’s 565 municipalities to set up their own public stormwater utilities which would build and manage sewer systems, according to WLNY-TV.

The utilities will be allowed to tax properties which create large amounts of rainwater run-off, such as long driveways and parking lots, because of the cost of filtering the pollutants in the water.

“Every time you think there’s nothing left to tax, we come up with something else,” Republican Assemblyman Hal Wirths complained during debate on the bill which passed at the end of last month. “It’s just never-ending down here.”

Senate President Steve Sweeney justified the legislation, pointing to other states which use storm water utilities to  collect and filter the run-off from rain.

“With all the salt that we’ve had on roads recently, that’s all running into the sewer systems. So you can’t ignore problems because they don’t go away,” the Democrat told WLNY.

Former governor and current state Sen. Richard Codey called the tax “a small cost to live safely.”

“A lot of our economy is based on, obviously, the shore. We gotta make sure we keep it that way,” the Democratic lawmaker said.

According to the New York Post:

The idea for the new fee goes back to 2010, when President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency ordered states whose rivers and streams flow into the Chesapeake Bay to drastically cut sediment pollution.

Maryland was the first to fall into line, with a 2012 law that charged cleanup costs to property owners — and sparked taxpayer fury. Republican Larry Hogan’s promise to repeal the “rain tax” helped sweep him into the governor’s mansion in 2014.

 

Creating the utilities could cost New Jersey billions in infrastructure, according to lawmakers, and the state could be collecting 5 percent of the proceeds, the New York Post reported.

“They are crazy,” Ramon Columna, a resident of Elizabeth, told WLNY. “As it is, there are too much taxes in New Jersey. Why would we want more taxes especially on cement?”

“Our homeowner’s taxes are as high as they can possibly be. They shouldn’t go any higher. It’s not fair,” resident Leslie Cedillo said.

Sen. Tom Kean Jr. agrees with other Republicans who have dubbed the bill the “Rain Tax.”

“We all want to protect our environment. We all want to preserve it for future generations,” the GOP lawmaker said. “But this is a weighted tax. The citizens of New Jersey…really with no oversight and no way to defend themselves against tax increases at local levels.”

The legislation, which is expected to be signed by Murphy, was universally slammed on Twitter.

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