Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Democrats Vote to Retain "Rain Tax"

House panel kills Hogan's stormwater fee repeal
A House committee voted along party lines Friday to kill Gov. Larry Hogan's bill to repeal the so-called "rain tax.''

Baltimore, MD--Jan. 6, 2013--Kathy Hoverman, left, and Azzam Ahmad walk in Leakin Park along an area in which storm drains are being restored. The storm drain restoration is funded by the city's storm water fee.

Dealing a blow to one of the Republican governor's top legislative priorities, the Democratic majority of the House Environmental Matters and Transportation Committee refused to roll back the controversial 2012 law that requires Baltimore City and the state's nine largest counties to levy stormwater remediation fees on property owners. The vote was 14-7.

Republican members argued that voters had spoken in electing Hogan, who campaigned on a pledge to end the fee mandate. St. Mary's County Del. Anthony O'Donnell said repeal "simply is a promise made and a promise kept."
As a conservative in one of Maryland's more rural counties which is not (yet) affected by the "Rain Tax" (a tax on impervious surfaces), I'm conflicted about the rain tax. It applies to the more urban, democratic regions which are more important source of stormwater, the reason for the levy. Sure, let them pay. Their representative enacted it.

However, in the areas it was imposed, it hit rural land owners in excess of their contributions to stormwater, and excused churches with lame "educational programs" and sermons (violating, in my opinion, the wall between church and state, since they are now excusing churches if they preach the state's environmental mantra).  And I fear that it won't be long before it is extended to the remainder of Maryland's areas, as the Democratic majority in the cities realizes they're paying more, and decide to stick to the more Republican voters in the rural counties. We already pay the "flush tax" on our water consumption, primarily to rebuild their sewers, a tax that Martin O'Malley, wanna president, doubled during his tenure.

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