‘Rain Tax’ sponsor defends position while NJ bemoans yet another tax

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TRENTON -

The sponsor of the “Clean Stormwater and Flood Reduction Act,” also known as the “Rain Tax” to critics, is defending the bill recently signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy.

Democratic Assemblyman John McKeon says that the bill allows New Jersey towns and counties to create stormwater utilities to manage contaminants such as road salt, animal waste and pesticides, which are often contained in runoff. Residents would be billed based on how much their property contributes to the runoff.

“If we don’t move in this direction, we’re talking about billions of dollars in damages both to those property values as well as of course our own health and what we’ll need to do just to have clean water,” McKeon says.

But critics of the new law say that New Jerseyans just cannot support yet another tax. New Jersey has some of the highest taxes in the nation.

"There's not even a limit to how business and property owners can be taxed,” says Ray Cantor, vice president of government affairs at the New Jersey Business and Industry Association. "There are many other existing mechanisms that can be put in place to solve these problems without another tax on the citizens of New Jersey."

McKeon says that critics are getting up in arms over nothing and that the price will not be much.

“A sum may be nominal to a sewer fee…there are provisions. You can do things not to pay anything,” he says.

New Jersey is now one of dozens of other states that also have stormwater utilities.

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