No 'Rain Tax' But A Vital Stormwater Runoff Plan
2019-02-08 | Record
Gaining public support for infrastructure projects is often a fool's errand.
Taxpayers, particularly in heavily taxed, heavily regulated
This is often true for local school bond referendums, or in regard to municipal upgrades such as refurbishing of a city hall or police station.
"I don't even have a kid in the school" and "What's wrong with the old one?" are common refrains.
There is even blow-back when money is sought for more obvious road and bridge repairs. Or, on a larger scale, for a new commuter tunnel under the
Thus, it is no surprise that those opposed to sensible, long-needed legislation to update
Such a tag is a Twitter feed dream; it's simple, it's catchy. It's also not accurate.
The bill, largely backed by
While many of New Jersey's rivers, lakes and other bodies of water have rallied in recent decades thanks to the end of our area's heavy industrial period and the effect of the 1972 Clean Water Act, many are still besieged by runoff and sewage, especially in heavy flooding. As NorthJersey.com and the
The bill, S-1073, does not directly impose any fees on property owners, or a wide-ranging tax on a community. Instead, it allows municipalities and counties to create their own local stormwater utilities that could then charge property owners a fee based on "a fair and equitable approximation" of how much runoff is generated from their property.
Supporters of the legislation, such as
"The bill allows discretion for the local utility, because different places require different solutions," Sturm said. "This will be negligible for the vast majority of homeowners. This is for properties that have large impervious surfaces."
In short, here is a problem that is not going to get better on its own. There is no natural corrective. Indeed, it is a problem too long neglected already. Simply labeling what seems a promising and workable remedy to the problem a "rain tax" and walking away is not going to solve it.