Lawmaker wants NJ towns to pledge ‘No rain tax here’
Burlington Assemblyman Ryan Peters has been making the rounds in his Burlington County district, urging towns to opt out of the so-called "rain tax."
Gov. Phil Murphy last month signed off on a new law letting counties and municipalities charge property owners for the water that runs off their land when it rains. The new law gives local governments permission to establish stormwater utilities, starting in mid-September.
Those utilities could collect fees that are intended to fairly approximate stormwater runoff resulting from impervious surfaces, such as parking lots.
Peters says in a place like New Jersey, already home to the highest property taxes in the country, towns should not be creating new entities to enact new taxes: "We don't need new money . We need smart money."
Peters created a resolution that decries what he calls the "limitless" taxes imposed on New Jerseyans, and says there is already a system in place to manage storm water runoff.
"Stop creating new ways to take our money and tax us. Let's be smarter with the money already taken. ... I don't understand why we need to create another tax. When it rains it pours," he said.
Advocates have said the authorization lets towns take proactive measures to push back on pollution, and helps avoid a property-value-killing problem in New Jersey communities
“Unfortunately with long-time development, with a failure to voluntarily deal with stormwater infrastructure, we’ve gotten to the point where every time it does rain that there’s road salts and that there are bacteria from animal droppings, pesticides, just basically washed into our clean water. And it’s something that needs to be addressed,” Assemblyman John McKeon, D-Essex said last month.
But Peters argues it's not the principle behind the law that's problematic, "It's how they're doing it."