WASHINGTON. In most studies tracking state and local tax levels, New Jersey generally figures as one of the top four states that routinely sock it to their beleaguered taxpayers. Ignoring recent history as their guide, the government of taxatious New Jersey just came up with an (almost) novel way to hit their citizens up for $$$ once again, notes an article in today’s ZeroHedge. It seems New Jerseyites must now pay a brand new “rain tax.”
Where have we seen this weird “new” tax before?
“Just when frustrated residents of New Jersey, one of the most heavily taxed states in the US, thought Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy had already brought the state into the ninth circle of taxation hell with new taxes to save the state’s ailing pension system, middle class voters in one of the least affordable states in the country have now been given one more thing to complain about: A tax on the rain.
“After a bill authorizing the new local taxes was passed by the state late last month, Murphy is preparing to sign it into law, over the objections of the state’s Republicans, according to the New York Post.
“As one state lawmaker told the post, just when NJ residents thought the state had already laid claim to every revenue stream imaginable, Democrats have found one more thing to tax.”
In taxatious New Jersey, Republicans are impotant. What else is new?
The state’s permanently impotent Republican legislators, of course, tried to fight this latest example of state government overreach. But they’re outvoted in Trenton every time.
“Every time you think there’s nothing left to tax, we come up with something else,” Assemblyman Hal Wirths (R-Morris-Sussex) exploded during a debate on the measure.
“It’s just never-ending down here.”
A negative Tweet-a-thon. Likely from Democrats who always vote for the party that raises their taxes
For this is a state that’s run its rapacious public employee unions that own and operate the Democrat Party. ZeroHedge notes the current citizen reaction to this latest invasion of their wallets by taxatious New Jersey.
“And voters are understandably furious.
— Luis R. Miranda (@LuisRealAgenda) February 5, 2019
— Luis R. Miranda (@LuisRealAgenda) February 5, 2019
A rain tax NJ, really……… 🤦♂️
— Matt sled (@Msledski7) February 7, 2019”
Pressing questions for taxatious New Jersey
Question No. 1: Why do those “understandably furious” New Jersey voters keep the money-hungry, public employee-owned Democrats permanently in power in Trenton when they know that after each election, the Democrats they’ve just put back in their comfortable seats will hit them for more money again?
Question No. 2: Didn’t on other True Blue, Democrat owned and operated Eastern Seaboard state pass a rain tax a few years ago? And how did that turn out for them?
We can’t answer question No. 1. New Jersey’s voters apparently love to bitch about the constant tax increases in a state whose legislature never met a tax they didn’t like. (They could maybe vote for a Republican who’s not union-owned?)
But we can address Question No. 2 quite easily. That’s because the first-ever rain tax we know about was passed right here in Washington, D.C.’s back yard. In 2012, the permanently public employee-union supported, Democrat majority controlling the legislature in the People’s Republic of Maryland voted in their very own rain tax to help “save the bay.” But more likely to “save” the extortionate pension demands of the public employee union masters.
Ever hear about the rain tax in the People’s Republic of Maryland?
Maryland’s then-governor (and later Presidential candidate!) Martin O’Malley promptly signed the rain tax into law. To “save the bay” from the excess and presumably polluted water runoff caused by God knows how many asphalt-paved home driveways throughout the People’s Republic.
ZeroHedge notes that similar weird logic also inspired the rain tax legislation just passed in taxatious New Jersey. The reasoning in Trenton was essentially the same as Maryland’s. Only different.
“The ‘rain tax,’ which is largely supported by Democrats and largely opposed by Republicans, would allow towns, counties and local authorities to set up their own stormwater utilities. These newly created arms of local bureaucracy would be empowered to charge property owners a fee based on the amount of non-permeable surface they own (think: parking lots and driveways). The logic behind this is that non-permeable surfaces create runoff when it rains, and that runoff gets polluted as it travels from these surfaces into local sewers, and then on to the state’s waterways. The revenue generated by these taxes would be used to upgrade the state’s stormwater systems, and save the state’s already polluted waters from further pollution (though the state would step in and scoop up 5% of all revenues).”
So how’d that rain tax finally work out in Maryland?
This absurdity has already generated a considerable backlash among New Jersey’s already grossly overtaxed middle-class citizens. (Who, of course, continue to elect the Democrats that piss them off.) But let’s pull back a bit and see how that earlier 2012 rain tax worked out in the People’s Republic of Maryland, per ZH.
“To illustrate just how politically radioactive the rain tax has become, it’s worth a look back at Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s upset victory in the state’s 2014 gubernatorial race. In a scenario that might sound familiar to many of our readers, Hogan was believed to be so far behind Democratic Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown that media didn’t even bother to conduct exit polling on election day.
“But when Hogan unexpected came from behind and clinched the governor’s mansion, stunned pundits started casting about for an explanation. And through a hodge-podge of anecdotal reports, they settled on the rain tax, which Hogan had vociferously campaigned against (Maryland passed the law in 2012, two years before the election).”
A Republican governor? In Maryland? In another surprise, even as he unexpectedly underwent treatment for cancer, new Republican Governor Hogan somehow managed to cajole, shame or otherwise influence Maryland’s permanent Democrat majority-controlled legislature to kill the rain tax they’d only recently put in place. He happily signed that legislation into law, killing Maryland’s rain tax, presumably forever.
Nothing breeds political success like keeping your campaign promises
Not only that. After apparently winning his battle with cancer, Hogan ran for a second gubernatorial term in 2018. And won again. In Maryland. A state that never met a Republican that it’s voters didn’t hate. (Except in Maryland’s disenfranchised Appalachian mountain West where many citizens would like to secede. But that’s another story.) Some state Republicans are even urging the moderate Hogan to take on President Trump during the 2020 Primary Sweepstakes.
In short, Hogan’s continued success is no mystery. He promised to kill Maryland’s hated rain tax. Overcame the hugely-favored Democrat candidate to win the state’s governorship in 2014. And promptly delivered on his promise to kill the hated tax, pushing through its repeal through a hostile legislature even while battling a serious illness. It’s a classic example of why every (legal) vote counts. And it’s also a classic example of what happens when a newly elected politician actually fulfills a campaign promise. What a concept.
New Jersy Governor Murphy. Taxatious to the bitter end
Which gets us back to taxatious New Jersey, where ZeroHedge points out the obvious implications already borne out by Maryland’s shocking political about-face on its own stupid rain tax.
“The rain tax was so hated by Maryland voters, that it effectively ceded control of the governor’s mansion in a deep-blue state to a Republican.
“Maybe Gov. Murphy is already setting himself up for a similar upset during the state’s next gubernatorial election in 2021.”
But don’t tell that to Murphy. Now US Representative and media darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is dumb. But Murphy is even dumber.
Today’s market action
It’s Monday on Wall Street. This morning at around 11:30 a.m. ET, we find Mr. Market once again in a state of seemingly eternal confusion.
Over the weekend, we learned that the US-China trade negotiations may not make it to a resolution before a March 1 deadline. That’s the day, set by President Trump, for slapping even more tariffs on the Chi-coms if they don’t start playing nice with our goods and our (mostly purloined) technologies.
In addition, we learned – no surprise – that Congressional negotiators are virtually certain to miss their self-imposed Monday deadline to wrap up budget talks, fund some flavor of President Trump’s Wall (which they’ll call something else instead of a Wall), and avoid another Federal government shutdown. Right. So what else is new? Brinksmanship is a predictable game in Washington.
Twin terrors haunt Washington. And Mr. Market
But, with this pair of Damoclean swords hanging over the nation’s capital – again – Mr. Market is getting goosey. Stocks hovered near flatline Monday morning, dipping first into green ink and then back into red, back and forth, up and down, ad infinitum. When we started this very paragraph, the Dow was up some 20 points. Now it’s down about 30 points, a 0.11 percent loss at this moment. Where this old industrial index goes next. during the next moment is anyone’s guess.
The S&P and the NASDAQ have both spent a good deal of time in the green zone thus far, but just barely. Again as we type away, the S&P 500 has just slipped a fraction of 1 percent below the zero line. The tech-heavy NASDAQ is up 7.09 points at the moment, an exciting 0.09 percentage gain.
You can see what’s going on here. January proved that Mr. Market wanted to go bullish again and re-start the Great Trump Rally yet again. But, as February and its key deadlines take over market sentiment, neither investors nor the high-speed trading machines that manipulate them, seem likely to gain more bullish confidence if neither China-US trade talks nor the second looming government shutdown can achieve resolution.
Our crystal ball remains cloudy
A bad outcome, or even a bad prediction in either of these areas, will likely agitate the frustrated bears to take another December 2018-style swipe at the stock market. Investors are beginning to fear this. And that’s why everyone, whether machine or human, seems to be hedging his, her or its bets today. And will continue to do so until we get some resolution.
— Headline image: Why is this man smiling? NJ Governor Phil Murphy. Official state photo (cropped). Public domain.