New Jersey residents could soon see their hard-earned dollars go down the drain if Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy decides to sign recently passed legislation from New Jersey’s legislature allowing for a “rain tax.”
The legislation, Senate Bill S-1073, which the New Jersey Assembly and Senate approved, would allow local governments to create water utilities that would give them the power to tax homeowners and business owners with large paved surfaces.
When it rains, the rainwater mixes with pollutants and seeps into municipal sewage systems. The money collected would replace or repair sewage pipes or create “green infrastructure,” such as rain gardens that would collect polluted water.
“With all the salt that we’ve had on roads recently, that’s all running into the sewer systems, so you can’t ignore the problems because they don’t go away,” New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney told CBS New York.
Republicans have blasted the bill, dubbing it a “rain tax” on residents who contribute a large portion of their salary to state and local taxes.
“We all want to protect our environment. We all want to preserve it for future generations, but this is a weighted tax,” State Sen. Tom Kean Jr. told CBS New York. “The citizens of New Jersey … really [have] no way to defend themselves against tax increases at local levels.”
The bill would not only allow these utilities to collect taxes from residents, but it would also authorize them to go after people who do not pay them.
The governor’s office said Wednesday it could not comment on the pending legislation, which several reports say Murphy is likely to sign.
The New Jersey Democrat has 40 days to decide whether or not to make the legislation state law.