Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hogan Proposes Rain Tax Repeal

He campaigned against it, and now he's actually floating a proposal to get rid of it. Shocking!
The Republican governor's legislation would take away the state requirement that 10 jurisdictions impose a fee to pay for programs that curb storm water pollution.

Hogan's bill to repeal the rain tax, which has 61 co-sponsors, is now in the hands of the General Assembly.

"Forcing counties to raise taxes against their will was a mistake and needs to be corrected," Hogan said.

In the past fiscal year, more than $100 million has been collected in storm water fees. The money is supposed to fund measures to reduce storm water runoff pollution. Storm water is untreated and separate from municipal sewage systems. The Environmental Protection Agency requires local jurisdictions with separate systems to establish a watershed and restoration program.

"We don't need a mandate from Annapolis to do what is right. We are already doing it, and for many years," said Delegate Haven Shoemaker, R-Carroll County.

The governor's legislation gives jurisdictions the option of continuing to collect the fee or not. Harford County has already repealed its fee.
The "rain tax" has been unpopular since it's conception, but "big enviro" thought it was a great idea to get the more urban counties to pay for storm water systems.  The idea of getting the urban areas was noble, but in practice, they tried hard to shift as much of the as possible the bill onto rural areas which were not the source of the problem. A farm with a large paved area surrounded by a much larger unpaved area with no runoff problem would face the same bill as a business which was all impermeable surface, all of which had to run into storm sewers. Churches would get exemptions based on hokey out reach programs, and I expect other non-profits to lobby and win similar exemptions.

Why not just set the standards that need to be achieved, and let the counties determine how to raise the money, and how to spend it?

What? Allow local government to decide! What's the fun in that?

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