Thursday, January 05, 2006

Yes Virginia, Democrats will tax anything

Remember Jim Florio's toilet paper tax? I do, but it seems that New Jersey's elected Democrats have forgotten all about it with the introduction of a bill that would tax water. Yep, water. The details of the proposed tax:
Under the legislation, customers of New Jersey's various public water franchises would be hit with a levy of 4 cents per 1,000 gallons of water used.

Money raised through the levy -- expected to be just over $2.50 per household, or $13 million annually -- would go into the state's general fund.

Yes, it would only be about $2.50 per household (although that is on top of already high water prices). And yes, it looks like the bill will die in the Assmebly this week. But the mere fact that they are contemplating such a move bothers me and is cause for worry once Jon "I lied when I told you I wouldn't raise the gas tax" Corzine takes office on January 17, 2006. Is anything protected from taxation by the New Jersey Democrats? NJ Conservative (hat tip) thinks that air is safe (at least for the time being). I wouldn't hold my breath.

For those of you unfamiliar with the "toilet paper tax," in 1990, then-Governor Jim Florio pushed a $2.8 billion tax increase through the Democratic controlled state legislature. The tax increases included an income tax hike, a hike in the sales tax and inclusion of additional items on the sales tax list. This is where the name came from -- included among the newly taxed items was toilet paper. People were outraged. There was a march on Trentron (with people and cars draped in newly-taxed toilet paper). Florio's mail included both unused and used toilet paper. "Impeach Florio" and "Dump Florio" bumper stickers were soon seen everywhere. Needless to say, the mid-term elections didn't go well for the Democrats -- they lost control of both houses of the legislature. Most of the tax increase was repealed once the GOP took control of the legislature and Florio did not fare so well in his re-election bid a few years later.

A lesson to the Democrats in control in Trenton today: If you think New Jersey voters don't have long memories, just think back to the 2000 senate primary. Florio ran (albeit against a well-funded Corzine) and lost. Voters interviewed at the noted that they just couldn't forgive him for the toilet paper tax. And these were fellow Democrats!

Watch out Pennsylvania and Flordia, it looks like your toilet paper is next!

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