State senator pushing for legislation to tax tap water in New Jersey

State senator pushing for legislation to tax tap water in New Jersey
A New Jersey lawmaker is proposing a tax on tap water. (sonmez/Getty Images)

A New Jersey state senator has introduced legislation to tax tap water. He calls the plan a way to help fund repairs for the state’s aging water system, Fox News reported.

Legislation proposed by New Jersey state Sen. Bob Smith, a Democrat, asks for a “user fee on water consumption and water diversion.” Smith prefers to call the added cost a “user fee” and not a tax.

How much would water bills increase?

Smith’s plan would add about $32 per year to the average water bill, according to published reports. That amounts to a tax of approximately 10 cents for every 1,000 gallons of water used in a home.

His proposal states that “much of [New Jersey’s] drinking water infrastructure has aged past its useful life and is in dire need of repair and replacement.”

“There is a big problem, and it is a problem that affects your health, your kids’ health and your grandchildren’s health,” Smith said in a report by told NJ.com.

If approved, Smith’s plan would bring in about $150 million in revenue per year.

It’s likely to face resistance, though.

In California, Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this year asked the state legislature to consider a tax on drinking water. The money, the Sacramento Bee reported, would be used to clean up polluted water and correct water infrastructure issues. That plan would have meant a water bill increase of about $11 for the average person.

Still, complaints were aired that slapping on the fee could make water more difficult to afford for some residents.

Is this done anywhere else?

Some states already tax residential water though a general sales tax. That includes Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Vermont, the report states. Washington state has a tax on bottled water.

Smith’s bill has yet to make its way through any state Assembly or Senate committees.