The TrueSoldier Rants

The Thoughts of a Conservative mind.

Maryland: County to charge a rain tax

I wish this was a joke, but it isn’t. One county in Maryland (Howard county) is planning on charging land owners what amounts to a tax on rain:

Howard County Council voted to approve legislation creating a state-mandated stormwater fee to fund stormwater restoration projects. The average residential property owner will be charged about $105, according to county officials, but the fees are expected to be lower for most residential property owners in the east part of the county and higher than $105 for most in the west.

The county administration had proposed charging property owners $7.80 for every 500 square feet of impervious surface in the first year with the fee escalating to more the $20 in subsequent years.

Impervious surfaces include paved driveways and rooftops. The county’s Geographic Information Services will determine the amount of impervious surface for each property.

Council member Calvin Ball’s amendment set the fee at $15 per 500 square feet of impervious surface for three years.

The council voted 3-2 to set the fee at $15 for the next three years. Fox and Courtney Watson, a Democrat, voted against the rate. They wanted the fee increases to be phased in.

With the $15 rate, a residential property owner with 2,000 square feet of impervious surface will pay $75 a year. A residential property owner with 7,000 square feet of impervious surface can expect to pay $210  a year.

Ball said his amendment stabilized fee and prevents it from doubling or tripling in future years.
“If they [residents] don’t know about this fee, learning about the fee and then [having] it potentially tripling the next year would be disconcerting,” he said.

The fee will rise in the fourth and fifth years, according to Caldwell.

This is something to watch out for in other states as once one state starts the ball rolling you can bet others will jump on board. I live in the Pacific North West and with the amount of annual rainfall we get I could very easily see the politicians looking at this as a windfall revenue source by changing it from size of the impervious surface to how much rain water is diverted by the impervious surfaces (based on the daily rainfall total for the location). They would love this one as rain is out of the control of the individual (unlike gasoline taxes). At this rate it will not be long till we are all charged a breathing tax.

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April 4, 2013 Posted by | Politicians, taxes | Leave a comment