‘Rain Tax’ Likely To Become Reality In New Jersey

Save it for a rainy day. Some of your hard-earned dollars may be taken away as the weather turns ugly and rain drops fall on the Garden State. A new bill calls for the creation of local or regional storm water utilities, giving local counties and municipalities the power to collect a tax from properties with large paved surfaces such as parking lots, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported.

That’s businesses and homeowners.

The bill passed in the Senate and the Assembly and is now headed to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk.

Is It A Good Idea To Tax People When It Rains?

“With all the salt that we’ve had on roads recently, that’s all running into the sewer systems. So you can’t ignore problems because they don’t go away,” Senate President Steve Sweeney said.

Sweeney said most states already have storm water utilities that collect and filter runoff from storms. In New Jersey, the runoff goes directly into streams, rivers and bays, carrying with it pollution like lawn fertilizers that contaminate the waterways.

MORE: Gov. Murphy Signs Bill That Will Eventually Raise Minimum Wage In N.J. To $15 An Hour

Former governor and current state Sen. Richard Codey said it’s necessary.

“A lot of our economy is based on, obviously, the shore. We gotta make sure we keep it that way,” Codey said.

Some homeowners aren’t a fan of the plan, either.

“They are crazy. As it is, there are too much taxes in New Jersey,” Elizabeth resident Ramon Columna said. “Why would we want more taxes especially on cement, ya know?”

“Our homeowner’s taxes are as high as they can possibly be. They shouldn’t go any higher. It’s not fair,” resident Leslie Cedillo added.

MORE: New Jersey’s Gas Tax Jumps For 2nd Time In 2 Years

Some Republicans have dubbed the bill the “Rain Tax,” saying another tax makes New Jersey even more unaffordable, and state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. agrees.

“We all want to protect our environment. We all want to preserve it for future generations. But this is a weighted tax. The citizens of New Jersey … really with no oversight and no way to defend themselves against tax increases at local levels,” Kean said.

When asked what he would say to taxpayers who say they cannot afford another tax, Codey said, “It’s a small cost to live safely.”

Other supporters say creating these utilities would help reduce flooding caused by storms.




Trump Impeachment Not Likely Despite Political Storm

As the world wakes up to the political storm unfolding in the U.S. around some of Donald Trump closest former associates, questions are being asked whether the president could now be impeached — although that scenario is still very unlikely.

The political controversy reached new heights Tuesday with Trump’s former campaign chief Paul Manafort and former lawyer Michael Cohen appearing in separate courts and the former being found guilty of — and the latter pleading guilty to — a litany of felonies related to the election campaign.

“Together, what these things are going do is that they’re going to fuel talk of impeachment,” Peter Trubowitz, the head of international relations at the London School of Economics, told CNBC Wednesday, calling it a “double whammy” of the Manafort and Cohen outcomes.



Cuba’s likely next president pledges more responsive gov’t

The 57-year-old Communist Party official expected to assume Raul Castro’s seat as president of Cuba on April 19 says the country’s next government will be more responsive to its people.

Miguel Diaz-Canel told reporters in the central city of Santa Clara that “the people will participate in the decisions that the government takes.”

He also lamented the downturn in relations with the U.S. under President Donald Trump, saying “the reestablishment of relations has been deteriorating thanks to an administration that has offended Cuba.”

Diaz-Canel appeared to be a promising a shift toward a more open governing style rather than any sweeping political reform. In a bit of political theater reflecting that new style, he waited in line to vote with citizens ratifying a government-selected list of parliamentary candidates on Sunday.



Children born by c-section far more likely to be obese by aged five, major study suggests

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh reviewed data from 80 studies and trials which jointly looked at 29 million births.

They found that the risk of obesity for under fives jumped by 59 per cent if they had been delivered through a c-section. The youngsters were also 21 per cent more likely to develop asthma by the age of 12.