NJ Politics Digest: State ‘Rain Tax’ Plan Signed Into Law

Gov. Phil Murphy has signed a law allowing local governments to impose a tax on property owners for contributing to stormwater runoff problems.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker is Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Gov. Phil Murphy has signed a law allowing local governments to impose a tax on property owners for contributing to stormwater runoff problems.

Proponents of the measure say it’s necessary to help towns and counties pay for improvements needed to deal with runoff from roofs, driveways and parking lots. Critics say it’s just another effort by the state to wring more cash out of already overtaxed residents.

As NJ101.5 reports, the law signed by Murphy gives municipalities and counties the ability to establish so-called stormwater utilities that could impose the tax. Similar taxes in the United States add an additional $65 annually for the average single-family home, according to the report.

The law requires five percent of anything collected to go to the state, according to the report. New Jersey has a long history of taxes and fees imposed for specific, noble-sounding purposes eventually being used to plug holes in the general budget.

Critics say the law could force residents to pay two taxes if both their town and county decide to impose the new fee.

The New Jersey Business and Industry Association said the bill is an additional tax burden not only on businesses, but on churches, non-profits and residences.

Quote of the Day: “To start digging into investigative files in uncharged cases and turning over witness statements is dangerous and irresponsible,” — Elie Honig, a former prosecutor who led the state Division of Criminal Justice, on the decision allowing the release of files in the investigation into Katie Brennan’s allegations she was raped.

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