Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, the Democrat leaders of the New Jersey Legislature, called for a tax on water for fund the repair and replacement of the state’s aging and lead contaminated water infrastructure.
Assemblyman Dave Rible, the Republican Conference Leader in the lower house, said raising taxes is not the answer. Rible is introducing a bill that would allow municipalities to contribute the monies now earmarked for affordable housing construction to instead by dedicated to a fund to be used to remediate lead contaminated properties.
“While we need to address the serious issue of lead contamination in our communities, raising taxes is not the answer,” said Rible. “This bill would provide vital funding for rehabilitating lead-contaminated properties without forcing taxpayers to dig deeper to pay for these projects.”
Under the measure, towns would see their affordable housing obligations reduced by paying into a fund that would be dedicated to remediating lead contamination, including water systems, in properties deemed affordable under the state’s affordable housing requirements. The bill would require the Department of Community Affairs to develop a formula to reduce a town’s affordable housing requirement based on their financial contribution to the lead abatement fund.
“Instead of requiring towns to construct costly affordable housing developments, we can dedicate this money to combatting the serious lead contamination problems plaguing many communities in our state,” said Rible. “This would be a tremendous benefit both for the health of New Jersey citizens and for the taxpayers who won’t have to pay more to fund these expensive lead abatement projects.”