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Legislation authorizing local governments to create authorities to manage stormwater runoff amounts to yet another tax on business, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association said today.

The bill would allow municipalities to charge fees on property owners based on the amount of their impervious surfaces, such as parking lots and driveways. The legislation does not say how much the fees would be.

Testifying before the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which is scheduled to vote on the bill today, NJBIA Vice President Tony Bawidamann said many businesses that could be affected by the program are already funding stormwater runoff programs.

“Under this bill, companies would be assessed a fee by a separate county or municipal authority, even if they already have a stormwater permit and are taking steps to accomplish the goal of the bill,” Bawidamann said.

“Many facilities are already required to obtain costly stormwater permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP),” Bawidamann added. “Under these permits, companies are required to pay application fees and oversight fees that run in the thousands of dollars. These facilities are required to mitigate impacts to stormwater as a requirement under the permits.”

He also urged legislators to consider how much an added stormwater tax would contribute to a business climate that is growing increasingly grim.

“We continue to urge our policymakers to recognize the cumulative impacts that are being heaped upon New Jersey businesses through new laws and proposals that will ultimately be handed down to ratepayers and customers,” he said.