New Jersey is expected to enact a ‘rain tax’ enforced on property owners.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy is prepared to sign the bill that will allow the state’s 565 municipalities to literally tax the rain by charging property owners a fee for their parking lots and driveways, or any other surface rainwater can’t penetrate.
“Every time you think there’s nothing left to tax, we come up with something else,” said Assemblyman Hal Wirths (R-Morris-Sussex) during a debate on the bill. “It’s just never-ending down here.”
Lawmakers who supported the bill claim revenue generated by the new tax will be used to upgrade the state’s storm water runoff systems, although some are predicting the new revenues will be redirected to another, unrelated purpose.
For one thing, the state has already claimed 5% of the revenue.
“Under the law, the utilities can levy steep fees on properties with large parking lots, long driveways, or big buildings — which create the most runoff,” reported the New York Post.
The state is already prohibitively expensive for the middle class: more people have fled New Jersey than any other state in 2018, meaning that the tax could have the unintended consequence of lowering the tax base by forcing even more people to leave.
In fact, according to United Van Lines, 66.8% of New Jersey-related moves were outbound, and a good portion of movers were baby boomers with high incomes and accumulated wealth.
“The data collected by United Van Lines aligns with longer-term migration patterns to southern and western states, trends driven by factors like job growth, lower costs of living, state budgetary challenges and more temperate climates,” said UCLA economic Michael Stoll, with emphasis added.
Taxes in particular are a large factor in the reason to move from New Jersey, according to The Fiscal Times.
“The past few years have really put the squeeze on cash-strapped states to find new sources of revenue,” the paper reported. “This environment has generated a level of tax aggression from certain states, which in turn has resulted in a net loss of revenue instead of the intended gain.”
“Residents have begun voting with their feet, deciding to move out of the state instead of thinning their pocket through unwanted taxation.”
Democrats attempted to provoke AG Matt Whitaker during a committee hearing, but they only succeeded at making themselves look bad.