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ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey is one of the highest taxed states in the country. Now, residents and businesses could be taxed extra … when it rains.
Save it for a rainy day. Some of your hard-earned dollars may be taken away as the weather turns ugly and rain drops fall on the Garden State. A new bill calls for the creation of local or regional storm water utilities, giving local counties and municipalities the power to collect a tax from properties with large paved surfaces such as parking lots, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported.
That’s businesses and homeowners.
The bill passed in the Senate and the Assembly and is now headed to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk.
“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.
Sweeney said most states already have storm water utilities that collect and filter runoff from storms. In New Jersey, the runoff goes directly into streams, rivers and bays, carrying with it pollution like lawn fertilizers that contaminate the waterways.
Former governor and current state Sen. Richard Codey said it’s necessary.
“A lot of our economy is based on, obviously, the shore. We gotta make sure we keep it that way,” Codey said.
Some homeowners aren’t a fan of the plan, either.
“They are crazy. As it is, there are too much taxes in New Jersey,” Elizabeth resident Ramon Columna said. “Why would we want more taxes especially on cement, ya know?”
“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 added.
Some Republicans have dubbed the bill the “Rain Tax,” saying another tax makes New Jersey even more unaffordable, and state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. agrees.
“We all want to protect our environment. We all want to preserve it for future generations. 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,” Kean said.
When asked what he would say to taxpayers who say they cannot afford another tax, Codey said, “It’s a small cost to live safely.”
Other supporters say creating these utilities would help reduce flooding caused by storms.