A New Jersey state senator has introduced legislation that would levy a tax on tap water in an effort to fix the state’s aging pipes.
State Sen. Bob Smith, a Democrat, suggested adding a “user fee on water consumption and water diversion" in his proposed legislation.
The tax would add 10 cents for every 1,000 gallons of water used in a home, which would amount to an increase of approximately $32 per year to the “average” water bill, Smith told WNYW-TV.
According to the proposal, “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 told NJ.com.
If Smith’s plan passes, he said it would bring in about $150 million per year.
But the plan could face opposition.
Earlier this year, California Gov. Jerry Brown asked the state legislature to consider enacting a tax on drinking water to fix polluted water and other water infrastructure, according to the Sacramento Bee. The average person would see an increase of just over $11 to the water bill, according to estimates.
This reportedly led to complaints that such a fee would make a basic necessity harder to afford.
Scott Drenkard, director of state projects at the nonprofit Tax Foundation, told Fox News that 13 states already tax residential water utilities through general sales tax: Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Tennessee and Vermont.
Other states, like Washington, have a tax on bottled water.
As for Smith’s bill, it hasn’t yet made its way through committees in either the state Assembly or Senate.