Assemblyman Peters asks towns to take ‘no rain tax’ pledge
LUMBERTON – Assemblyman Ryan Peters is calling on all municipalities in his region to band together by passing a “No Rain Tax Resolution.”
“I’ll be reaching out to every mayor, deputy mayor and council member I can to implore them not to crush our residents with another new tax,” said Peters (R-Burlington). “If I can get enough towns to band together, hopefully more will follow and residents and businesses won’t ever have to see a rain tax added to their monthly bills.”
In March, Governor Murphy signed S1073/A2694 authorizing municipalities and counties to establish stormwater utilities. It has been referred to as the “Rain Tax” because it creates a new tax to deal with rainwater runoff.
“When you lay your head on your pillow to go to sleep at night in New Jersey, you never know what new tax you’re going to wake up to. No matter how hard we fight in Trenton, one-party rule in the state makes it difficult to stop these types of fiscally harmful policies, so I’m taking the fight locally,” Peters said.
Under the new law, if municipalities or counties choose to establish a stormwater utility, they will be allowed to apply an undetermined tax on property and business owners based on the amount of impervious surface they have. Although the revenue is meant to be for treating stormwater, the law states that 5 percent or $50,000 of the revenue is required to be paid to the state and another 5 percent can be used for a locality’s general fund.
“When Democrats introduced this, they justified it by saying towns need a funding source to treat stormwater runoff. I’m sorry, but are the state’s highest property taxes in the nation not enough of a funding source?” Peters questioned.
“This won’t only create another tax separate from what property taxpayers and business owners pay, but it will also create another level of bureaucracy and salaries that any new revenue will go towards funding. Towns have public works and other departments that budget property taxes to handle this,” he continued.
New Jersey has the highest average property taxes in the nation at $8,767. The state was also named as having the worst business tax climate in the nation by the nonprofit Tax Foundation.
Several mayors and council members have already responded to Peters’ calls and plan to bring up the resolution at a future town meeting, including representatives from Medford, Hammonton, Hainesport, Lumberton, Shamong, Mount Laurel and Woodland.
“This is an unneeded tax in our town that would also add an expensive layer of oversight. Medford has systems in place to treat stormwater,” said Medford Mayor Chuck Watson. “We plan to pass this at our meeting in two weeks.”
“The Lumberton Township Committee strives to bring its residents top-notch services while remaining affordable. We can achieve this goal without introducing a new tax,” said Lumberton Deputy Mayor Kristen Januseski. “The committee will vote on the resolution at its next meeting, and it is my hope that we pass it.”
“Shamong has a history of being fiscally responsible and planning ahead. We already have systems in place to treat stormwater that are funded through property taxes and have no intentions on creating a new level of bureaucracy and hitting our residents with a new tax,” said Shamong Mayor Michael Di Croce. “The township plans on passing Assemblyman Peters’ resolution and stands beside him in his fight to provide relief to our taxpayers.”
Below is the model resolution:
RESOLUTION PROCLAIMING TO LOCAL RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES THAT THE MUNICIPALITY WILL NOT COLLECT NEW STORMWATER MANAGEMENT OR RAIN TAXES
WHEREAS, bill S1073/A2694 authorizing municipalities and counties to establish stormwater utilities was signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy; and
WHEREAS, municipalities or counties that choose to establish a stormwater utility will be allowed to apply an undetermined tax on property and business owners based on the amount of impervious surface they have, often referred to as a rain tax; and
WHEREAS, there is no limit to the amount property owners and local businesses can be taxed as long as it can be justified as going towards improving stormwater management, however, 5 percent or $50,000 of the revenue is required to be paid to the state and another 5 percent can be used for a locality’s general fund; and
WHEREAS, sewage authorities must adhere to a two-percent cap on annual increases to property owners and businesses, but stormwater utilities will not have to adhere to the cap; and
WHEREAS, municipalities and counties already have stormwater systems in place that manage stormwater without the need of creating another level of bureaucracy; and
WHEREAS, New Jersey property taxpayers already pay the highest taxes in the nation, and the creation of any new tax is an impossible burden to put on their backs; and
WHEREAS, New Jersey’s Business Tax Climate was named last in the nation by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, and any new taxes to our business owners are not feasible; and
WHEREAS, Assemblyman Ryan Peters is calling on municipalities and counties to come together and signal to their tax-paying residents and businesses that they’re aware that New Jersey’s tax burden is already too high by making their intentions known through this resolution; and now be it
RESOLVED, that the ___GOVERNING BODY___ already has a system in place to manage stormwater and will not create a stormwater utility that would impose new taxes on its residents; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the ___GOVERNING BODY___ understands and sympathizes with the heavy tax burden already placed on New Jersey residents and businesses and, therefore, will not charge them an extra tax for having driveways, parking lots and other impervious surface
RESOLVED, that certified copies of this Resolution be forwarded to Governor Phil Murphy, Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver, New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney, New Jersey Senate Republican Leader Thomas Kean, Jr., New Jersey Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, New Jersey Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick.