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Bill S-1073 seeks to penalize businesses and homeowners whose property contains paved surfaces, like a driveway or a parking lot. When it rains, the rain acts as a medium, transporting any pollutants it picks up from paved surfaces, like brine and rock salt, and then depositing it into sewers and drains. And since the pollutants are thought to have originated from paved surfaces, the state has determined that property owners are responsible for any negative environmental impacts that result therein and should be penalized accordingly.
The legislation itself does not actually allow the state to collect any taxes, however. Instead, it allows each of its 565 different municipalities to create their own stormwater utility systems to minimize the runoff problem. Each locality will then charge each homeowner and business based on what the bill calls “a fair and equitable approximation” of how much runoff is generated from their property.
The legislation states:
Under the bill, a county, municipality, or authority (local unit) that establishes a stormwater utility is authorized to charge and collect reasonable fees and other charges to recover the stormwater utility’s costs for stormwater management.
New Jersey is currently one of the most heavily taxed states in the country. And yet, it is going to burden its residents even further with the passing of this bill. According to the EPA, it will cost the state of New Jersey $15.6 billion to upgrade its storm drain system. However, the cost to Garden State taxpayers could end up being significantly higher.