A lesson on taxes in New Jersey

On March 18, 2019, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law New Jersey Senate Bill S1073, otherwise known as the Clean Stormwater and Flood Reduction Act. The legislation, which has been dubbed the “Rain Tax” in the press, was purportedly enacted to give municipalities a tool to effectively manage local stormwater issues.

Why the need for a new tax? Simple. New Jersey has a spending problem, and the answer to solving the problem is always the same: Give us more of your money.

Before the “Rain Tax” existed, municipalities and other entities made the same repairs to stormwater systems, but they would be paid for by the taxes you already pay. Now, the state makes up a new tax, calls it something that sounds like a new crisis and asks you to pay more. And instead of the entire amount of the tax going to stormwater management, Trenton is taking 5 percent and another 5 percent can be used by the Township for general expenses. Why should Trenton or the Township take anything if the purpose of the tax is for local stormwater management?

Stormwater management isn’t a new need. It’s a basic part of government. It’s something government should have already accounted for in their long and short term budgeting plans. Medford Township Council recently adopted a non-binding resolution indicating that Medford Township would not be instituting a separate stormwater utility or charging any of our residents and businesses a “Rain Tax” for stormwater management.

Most residents will be happy to hear that their Township Council has planned for and is ready to deal with stormwater issues, without creating a new category of taxation for residents who already pay too much in taxes.

Somehow, this decision was met with anger from the Medford Democratic County Committee Chair and other meeting attendees who are now running for office in Medford at a recent Township Council meeting. As surprising as it is, there are people out there who think government is entitled to even more of your money. I’m not one of them.

If you’re angry at us for not raising your taxes, we apologize. Hopefully, the extra money in your pocket will remove some of the sting.

— Frank Czekay, Deputy Mayor, Medford Township

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