From the Star Ledger:
Local authorities in New Jersey now have a new tool to manage stormwaters and flooding.
Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday signed into law the Clean Stormwater and Flood Reduction Act, which authorizes municipalities, counties and certain authorities in the state to establish stormwater utilities.
The goal of the move is to help local authorities prevent future flooding, and manage sources of runoff pollution. But opponents of the measure have long derided the effort as little more than a “rain tax.”
If a town decides to create a stormwater utility, that utility would bill property owners based on the amount of impermeable surfaces like roofs and parking lots on their land. The goal of that fee system is to ensure that property owners are being charged proportionally based on their contribution to stormwater runoff. But it’s because of the potential for new utility fees that opponents of the new law, mostly Republicans, have labeled the measure a “rain tax.”
“This law adds yet another tax on our already overburdened residents and businesses, though there is no language to define how much people will be charged, how the funds will be collected or how the funds generated by it will actually address stormwater issues,” said Ray Cantor, the vice president of government affairs for the New Jersey Business and Industry Association.
It is unclear how much these new utilities, if created, would cost for property owners.