New Jersey residents set to pay more as Governor Phil Murphy prepares to sign new 'rain tax'

The new bill calls for the creation of local or regional stormwater utilities, giving counties and municipalities the power to collect tax from properties with large paved surfaces


                            New Jersey residents set to pay more as Governor Phil Murphy prepares to sign new 'rain tax'

New Jersey, one of the highest taxed states in the country, is set to shell out more tax money — when it rains! Residents and businesses of the Garden State will be taxed for a rainy day as Governor Phil Murphy is poised to sign a "rain tax" bill. The law was reportedly passed by the state legislature in January.

The new bill calls for the creation of local or regional stormwater utilities, giving local counties and municipalities the power to collect a tax from properties with large paved surfaces such as parking lots, according to CBS2. The law reportedly permits each of the state's 565 municipalities to set up its own public stormwater utility. The new bureaucracies will build and manage sewer systems to treat pollutant-filled stormwater runoff, according to reports.

New Jersey Gov.-elect Phil Murphy speaks at an election night rally on November 7, 2017, in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Murphy was projected an early winner over Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. (Getty Images)
New Jersey Gov.-elect Phil Murphy speaks at an election night rally on November 7, 2017, in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Murphy was projected an early winner over Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. (Getty Images)

"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," Senate President Steve Sweeney said.

However, many taxpayers and Republicans are slamming the rain tax proposal, arguing the state has enough taxes levied on its residents already.

Assemblyman Hal Wirths (R-Morris-Sussex), during a debate on the measure, said: "Every time you think there’s nothing left to tax, we come up with something else. It’s just never-ending down here."



 

State authorities have said that the infrastructure could cost billions of dollars. The utilities, under the law, can levy steep fees on properties with large parking lots, big buildings, long driveways, areas which create the most runoff, according to the New York Post. Nearly five percent of the proceeds would reportedly be taken by the state.



The idea of the proposed tax goes back to former president Barack Obama's Environmental Protection Agency's bill in 2010, which ordered states whose rivers and streams flow into the Chesapeake Bay to drastically cut sediment pollution.

The law was first imposed on Maryland in 2012, which charged cleanup costs to property owners, and sparked protests from taxpayers. Shortly after the tax was levied in the state, rampant protest from Republican Larry Hogan and his promise to repeal the "rain tax" helped him win the 2014 gubernatorial polls.