Governor Murphy to Sign ‘Rain Tax’ Into Law

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy is preparing to sign a “rain tax” bill the state legislature passed on Jan. 31 — Republicans and a great many taxpayer are up in arms.

The ‘rain tax', which is largely supported by Democrats and largely opposed by Republicans, would allow towns, counties and local authorities to set up their own storm water utilities. These newly created arms of local bureaucracy would be empowered to charge property owners a fee based on the amount of non-permeable surface they own (think: parking lots and driveways). The logic behind this is that non-permeable surfaces create runoff when it rains, and that runoff gets polluted as it travels from these surfaces into local sewers, and then on to the state's water ways. The revenue generated by these taxes would be used to upgrade the state's storm water systems, and save the state's already polluted waters from further pollution (though the state would step in and scoop up 5% of all revenues).

The EPA, according to an op-ed published by North, has estimated that a complete overhaul of NJ's stormwater systems would cost $15.6 billion.

But unfortunately for Democrats, while taxing the rich might be in vogue among 2020 presidential contenders (because focus groups have suggested that raising taxes on other people remains a politically popular position), very few middle-class voters in a state that is already one of the most heavily taxed in the country want another massive tax levied on their driveway.

To illustrate just how politically radioactive the rain tax has become, it's worth a look back at Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's upset victory in the state's 2014 gubernatorial race. In a scenario that might sound familiar to many of our readers, Hogan was believed to be so far behind Democratic Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown that media didn't even bother to conduct exit polling on election day.

But when Hogan unexpected came from behind and clinched the governor's mansion, stunned pundits started casting about for an explanation. And through a hodge-podge of anecdotal reports, they settled on the rain tax, which Hogan had vociferously campaigned against (Maryland passed the law in 2012, two years before the election).

Source: Zero Hedge

Image: Phil Murphy



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