New Jersey may have more taxes than almost any other state in the United States, but that hasn’t stopped Governor Phil Murphy and other Democratic politicians in the state from looking for new ways to squeeze money out of the people who live there. Their latest great idea is to institute a “Rain Tax” to ostensibly keep the state clean and safe from pollution.
The official name of the offending bill is “The Clean Stormwater and Flood Reduction Act”. Under the bill, each municipality in the state of New Jersey would be tasked with setting up its very own public stormwater utility to catch and treat stormwater runoff. Because building stormwater utilities and treating the water in them for pollutants would cost billions of dollars, those in charge of creating the new utilities can levy steep fees on property owners to cover the costs.
Businesses would be hit particularly hard as large parking lots and big buildings tend to create the most runoff; however, even ordinary homeowners who happen to have long driveways may find themselves with significant tax bills as well. While most of the funds generated from the tax would go to the municipalities in charge of the new utilities, the state would receive 5% of the fees to use as it sees fit.
Those who support the “Rain Tax” are stating that it is needed to keep New Jersey’s coast pollution-free. Democratic State Senate President Richard Codey has said that the law is a small price to pay for the ability to live safely. Other supporters are proclaiming that the tax revenue generated from the new law could be used in the future for projects to help flowing form storms. However, the fact is that many other states in the nation manage to keep their shores pollution-free without levying stiff taxes on their residents.
New Jersey’s Democratic lawmakers are failing to consider the fact that adding additional taxes on top of an already heavy tax burden could very well cause the state’s home and business owners to leave the state altogether, decreasing revenues rather than increasing them. At the same time, large new businesses that may be considering opening branch offices or stores in New Jersey may decide to reconsider their plans upon discovering that they will have to pay extra taxes every single time it rains.
There is also the very real fact that many people, instead of leaving the state, may decide to vote out its current governor. Maryland, which is considered to be a reliably blue state, surprised pundits in 2014 by voting for a Republican gubernatorial candidate who was considered to be so far behind the Democrat gubernatorial candidate that the media didn’t even do exit polling on election day. When it was discovered that Larry Hogan had indeed won the election for governor of Maryland, reporters began looking for reasons why. They then discovered that Maryland residents were furious about the state’s “Rain Tax” and voted for Hogan because he promised to get rid of it.
New Jersey seems to be committed to following Maryland’s example. For the sake of its residents, let’s hope they at least get that last part right.
~ Conservative Zone