Maryland rain tax: Maryland will impose a new tax on homeowners for the amount of rain that falls on homes, according to a report.
The so-called “storm management fee” will be enforced after Democrat Gov. Martin O’Malley pushed the bill forward, reported the Maryland Reporter.
The measurement was passed by state lawmakers last year to raise funds to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s order to clean up the Chesapeake Bay estuary.
The fees will be calculated on square footage of surfaces on a property. Backers of the tax say that driveways, roofs, parking lots, and other surfaces create more potential for water contamination and drainage issues.
Proponents, which include environmentalists, say it is needed to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.
Critics, however, contend that the tax place an unreasonable tax on residents. They argue that residents are burdened with higher payroll taxes, income taxes, and gas taxes.
“We need to save the planet,” Sen. Delores Kelley, a Democrat who opposed the measure, told the paper. “But people can only do so much at one time.”
But Montgomery County Democrat Sen. Richard Madaleno said that regardless of how the state does it, Maryland has to complete the cleanup by 2017, as mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
“When I look at this amendment, I’m reminded of the saying, ‘You can pay me now, or you can pay me later,’” Madaleno noted.
The conservative organization Change Maryland said the tax will cost residents around $300 million a year.
Last July, a study found that high taxes in Maryland have drove out rich residents.
“Maryland has reached the point of diminishing returns. We’re taxing people too much and people are voting with their feet,” said Change Maryland Chairman Larry Hogan, after the study was commissioned, according to NBC.
He said, “Until we change our focus from tax increases to increasing the tax base, more people are simply going to leave, leading to a downward spiral of raising revenues on fewer citizens.”
And last month, a fiscal group claimed that Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who inked a $120 million deal this offseason, would have to pay and additional $1.72 million by staying in Maryland.
“This overwhelming tax rate is composed of the federal, Maryland, and Baltimore County income tax rate, as well as the Medicare tax,” Americans for Tax Reform said on its website. In Maryland, he will have to pay a 51.98 percent tax rate on his millions in earnings.