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GUEST OPINION: NJBIA Statement on Signing of Stormwater Tax Legislation

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NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Ray Cantor issued the following statement regarding the signing of bill S-1073 today by Governor Murphy. The new law allows municipalities and counties to create authorities to impose fees on residential and commercial property owners based on the amount of their impervious surfaces.
"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. 
"This legislation essentially creates a new, non-deductible property tax on the public and another bureaucratic expense at the local level. Churches and non-profits, as well as residents and businesses, will all be susceptible to these added fees based on their patios, parking lots, driveways and roofs.
"Potentially, 565 individual municipalities could charge fees within their own boundaries without having to consider how sewerage systems and stormwater in neighboring towns affect their projects. A county could also decide to have a stormwater authority, potentially forcing property owners to deal with two bureaucracies and fees for the same property.
"Further, this law will be extremely difficult to administer. It will require an analysis of each property in a town, credits for existing facilities, and credits for how well you maintain a facility. There is no certainty on how much can be collected and no stated appeals process.
"NJBIA understands the needs to address non-point source pollution, flooding and infrastructure needs. There are mechanisms already in place around the state to address the intent of this legislation. With this law, however, only the costs – and not the results – will be certain." | March 18, 2019