Are You Kidding Me? New Jersey’s Tax Increase Fever Puts Tap Water In The Crosshairs (Yeah...Tap Water)

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Posted: Jul 23, 2018 8:05 AM
Are You Kidding Me? New Jersey’s Tax Increase Fever Puts Tap Water In The Crosshairs (Yeah...Tap Water)

Well, the Garden State is many things. It has great beaches. East Rutherford is the home of the New York Giants. It’s the state where the greatest show of all time—The Sopranos—takes place. I grew up there. And yeah—the Democrats continue to run it into the ground. Gov. Chris Christie may have taken a baseball bat to the teachers unions there in the first year of his administration, but his deplorable approval numbers upon leaving office means we probably won’t see another Republican governor there until the 23rdCentury. Of course, after eight years of Christie, we have lefty Phil Murphy wanting to raise taxes to the point, where his office should be renamed Sheriff of Nottingham. The latest item on the possible taxation list is tap water (via Fox5NY):

Never short on ideas for things to tax, lawmakers in New Jersey are considering a tax on tap water.

The proposal is being floated by State Sen. Bob Smith D-Middlesex, who is trying to say it's not actually a tax but a 'user fee'.

"It is a user fee based on volume," Smith told Fox 5's Chasing New Jersey.

It would add 10 cents for every 1,000 gallons of water a home uses. Smith says that will only add $32 a year to the "average" water bill.

[…]

"Let's call it for what it is... it's another tax," Councilman Peter Brown D-Linden said.

Yeah, the first sentence of that Fox5 story couldn’t be true enough.

Since his inauguration, Murphy has been a busy left wing beaver with his agenda items, though like the 2006 shutdown under Jon Corzine, the Democratic legislature was the institution that proved to be a roadblock. It wasn’t until earlier this month that a deal was agreed upon, with the apparent winner in this fight being the legislature:

A weary Gov. Phil Murphy wheeled a wide handshake to his bitter, intraparty adversaries Saturday night in a sign of unity.

"There was never a disagreement over our values and principles, just in how best to get there,'' Murphy said, referring to Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex.

Murphy got them all there to a balanced budget agreement, but it was largely on the Legislature's terms, and that made for a big loss for the rookie governor. 

As the threat of a chaotic government shutdown moved closer to reality, Murphy blinked. Instead of fixing the broken, live-for-the-moment style of governing, as Murphy often said was his intent, the self-proclaimed outsider was outmaneuvered by the entrenched powers that run the Legislature.

The agreement may end the drama of the moment, but it bodes poorly for Murphy and his dreams of transforming New Jersey into a progressive bastion, a booming, vibrant California of the East.

This budget was his best, and perhaps last, chance to raise taxes and the revenue needed for the major investments in education, mass transit and public employee pensions. The political calendar over the next several years will make raising taxes politically untenable, which leaves Murphy with limited options to finance other priorities.

Murphy can only hope that a booming state economy will fill state coffers with an unexpected windfall, or he'll have to cut spending or reform health and pension benefits of public employees — which is a top priority of Sweeney, his chief political nemesis.

But we all know New Jersey’s economy isn’t going to boom. Are you nuts? It’s one of the worst run states, and it’s the worst state for business in the country. The only thing going for the state is its proximity to New York City, and the various corporate headquarters and warehouses belonging to a multitude of telecommunications and pharmaceutical companies. Other than that, the state is a total disaster. The state is considering taxing tap water; I would say that’s a huge red flag for fiscal incompetence.