Friday, October 23, 2015

Baltimore County Prepares to Dump "Rain Tax"

Baltimore County Council seeks to eliminate 'rain tax'
The stormwater remediation fee, known to many critics as the "rain tax," could soon be eliminated in Baltimore County.

The County Council on Monday introduced legislation that would phase out the fee over the next two years. According to the bill, the fee would be reduced in next summer's property tax bill before being eliminated the year after that.

The bill has unanimous support among the seven-member County Council, making it veto-proof against a possible rejection by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

"The council and I share the desire to lower fees but without compromising environmental protection. I intend to meet with the council to discuss next steps," Kamenetz said in a statement.
. . .
Baltimore County first established the fees in 2013. The General Assembly passed legislation the previous year that required the 10 largest jurisdictions in the state to collect the fees, which must be spent on projects designed to reduce runoff and control pollution in the area.

The mandate for the fees was lifted this year when the state legislature changed the law, ensuring that jurisdictions needed to show only that they were funding such projects and didn't need to create a new dedicated fee to pay for them. The shift was a top priority of Gov. Larry Hogan.
The "Rain Tax" was a brainchild of former Baltimore (City) Mayor, and then former Governor O'Malley, who is currently running for the democratic nomination. The "rain tax" was widely hated in the state, and is generally regarded as the reason Gov. Larry Hogan (R) beat O'Malley's hand picked would be successor, Lt. Gov. Anthony (Tony) Brown, which may have cast a shadow on O'Malley's presidential aspirations as well.

Hogan sponsored and signed legislation to repeal the mandate, allowing the jurisdictions affected to choose their own method of funding storm water control. Baltimore County is the first such jurisdiction to dump the "rain tax."

Just as information, Baltimore County is separate from Baltimore City, so this does not affect the city, yet.

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