Just when you thought New Jersey’s deluge of tax hikes couldn’t get worse, there’s an almost comical proposal that would further drown Garden State families.

In the wake of passing a $37.4 billion budget, the largest in state history, which includes over $1 billion in tax hikes, State Sen. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex)has introduced a legislative proposal to tax tap water.

The deterioration of water infrastructure has been a growing concern for policy-makers across the country in recent years. There is little doubt that a discussion of improvements ought to be had in Trenton moving forward.

The issue, is that is seems whenever a public utility requires improvement, NJ lawmakers can think of no other option but to introduce additional taxes to address it.

If New Jersey lawmakers decide to tax drinking water, it is another drip in the long line of taxes that impact nearly every facet – and in this case faucet – of peoples’ lives.

Not only is a water tax a symbol of the state tax authority slowly closing in on finally taxing the air we breath, it is a flawed proposal.

New Jersey is already ranked as having the worst business tax climate in America, largely because of its overbearing tax burden on companies and individuals alike. New taxes should be avoided at all costs, not leapt toward as option number one. A water tax will make this worse by making it more expensive to operate in the state – right after taxes on corporations and high earners were raised.

Moreover, a water tax is highly regressive. Everyone bathes, drinks, brushes, and does the dishes. These things are life’s basic necessities. Making them more expensive for everyone will hurt those already struggling to get by the most.

Instead of reflecting on what a financial disaster they’ve created, the water tax is a sign Trenton lawmakers will keep coming up with new taxes and increases for existing taxes, rather than reforming spending to free up money to address crucial infrastructure breakdowns.