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Tue May 29, 2018, 08:45 PM

Repeal of "rain tax" comes back to bite Republicans, Maryland developers

MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, Md. Maybe repealing Maryland’s so-called rain tax wasn’t such a good idea after all. DC area residents have been shocked to learn that flooding in Ellicott City, Maryland caused millions of dollars in damage and two deaths this past Sunday.

This was the second occurrence of major flooding in that jurisdiction in the last two years. Now Howard County and maybe the state will be faced with rebuilding, repairing and replacing the many buildings affected.

But, what is the cause of this chronic problem?

Most of the old town, one of the oldest in Maryland, was built in a flood area. Floods have been endemic to it since records were kept. These floods were temporary and caused some damage, but people would recover from them. The small size of the town and the extensive wooded and farm areas around it would mitigate the effects of heavy downpours. This all changed when development reared its ugly head.

https://www.commdiginews.com/politics-2/rain-tax-repeal-floods-102815/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork

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Response to AnnieBW (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2018, 08:55 PM

1. I'm from Baltimore, MD and if I can tell you one thing about MD GOPers it's

the are about as off-the-hook people anywhere. I still work a lot in MD and I knew when I saw signs about the so-called "Rain Tax" they would regret getting rid of it.

Another case of GOP Chickens voting for Colonel Sanders!

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Response to AnnieBW (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2018, 08:59 PM

2. 'A stormwater fee, also known as a rain tax, is a charge imposed on real estate owners

for pollution in stormwater drainage from impervious surface runoff.

A stormwater management fee was established via House Bill 987 (April 2012) and signed into law by then-governor Martin O'Malley, affecting the largest urban jurisdictions in Maryland (nine counties and the City of Baltimore) in order to meet the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act as it concerns the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The Tax Foundation states House Bill 987 "was passed in response to a decree by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formally known as the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, which identified mandatory reductions in nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment that damage the Chesapeake Bay." This mandate from the EPA was mandated to the states of Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Maryland is the only state that has levied a tax to meet the EPA’s standards.[4] Polluted runoff is the only source in the Chesapeake Bay watershed that is still increasing, as of 2018.[5][6] This tax, of course, does not tax rain but has been implemented in varying ways at the county level, such as a flat fee per property owner, or based on impervious surface square footage.

The law specifies that accrued funds must be used for specified stormwater pollution-related purposes.[7]

This law was modified in 2015 to make the county-assessed fees optional rather than mandatory while still holding the counties responsible for making progress on managing polluted runoff.'

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rain_tax

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Response to AnnieBW (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2018, 09:03 PM

3. The linked source is a nasty piece of work.

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Response to Marcuse (Reply #3)

Tue May 29, 2018, 11:27 PM

4. Nasty? 'Come the 2014 elections. Larry Hogan's Republican campaign seized on the greed of developers

the ignorance of the constituents and the political conscience of elected officials to thwart the 2012 bill to his advantage. A barragge of ads featuring the “rain tax” ran everywhere in the state. These ads ridiculed the bill and its supporters, including the Democratic candidate, who was the state’s Lieutenant Governor. He also promised not to implement any new taxes and to repeal the “rain tax”.

Hogan won the election. He carried all rural counties that would probably had voted Republican anyway. But he also won some of the traditional Democratic counties like Howard. He immediately went about repealing the storm water fees, which he accomplished in his first year of office. Advice from this author and many others was not heeded.

Since then, Ellicott City has suffered two catastrophic floods, one in 2016 and a worse one this past Sunday. It is obvious that a bill passed in 2012, even if not repealed, would not have made any difference. But the real issue is this. Howard County lost six years it could have used to establish more technically sound policies addressing storm water runoff.

So, who is going to pay for Ellicott City’s flood?

The governor and the legislature will probably not increase taxes in an election year. Any assistance by the state would have to come from emergency funds. So, as indicated by Hogan during his 2014 campaign, any tax increase would have to come at the county level. One wonders how much of the benefits the county received by being development-friendly will be upset by the costs of the floods. Penny wise and pound foolish would have said one of our founding fathers.'

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Response to elleng (Reply #4)

Mon Jun 18, 2018, 01:12 AM

7. I just wonder if the voters in HoCo will be smart enough to connect the dots

I grew up in Columbia and have family and high school friends. I would say 80% of my high school friends voted Hogan (a good chunk also supported Trump). Reasons varied: gun rights, high taxes, and "everything's going to Hell in Columbia" were the top three.

After the 2016 flood, Hogan was front and center the next day and my read was that he made a generally good impression on the locals and seemed to care. Honestly, that was a point at which I still figured Hillary would be President and Hogan looked like someone that would make a formidable opponent for her in 2020.

But now it has happened again, and my take is that the county wants a solution that preserves the town. My question is do the citizens of HoCo want to pay for it? That I'm not so sure about.

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Response to Algernon Moncrieff (Reply #7)

Mon Jun 18, 2018, 01:16 AM

8. I'll have to look into it.

I'm an official MoCo resident, but spend most of my time in Calvert.

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Response to elleng (Reply #8)

Mon Jun 18, 2018, 01:20 AM

10. Keep in mind my school was in Columbia, but...

...many of my classmates were from Clarksville, Fulton, and Laurel.

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Response to Marcuse (Reply #3)

Mon Jun 18, 2018, 01:18 AM

9. Very click-baity

The article has a lot of truth to it, but comes back to the tired "it's Columbia's fault" argument. News flash to Mr. Salazar - the developers were coming with or without Jim Rouse.

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Response to AnnieBW (Original post)

Wed May 30, 2018, 09:18 AM

5. Where I live in Virginia, the county tried to establish a Stormwater Utility and charge a fee to pay

for federally mandated stormwater management requirements, based on roof and other impervious surface area. The local Farm Bureau launched a huge misinformation campaign and managed to block the proposal. The main problem is that conservatives are against any tax for any reason, without any reference to the needs of the community.

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Response to Nitram (Reply #5)

Wed May 30, 2018, 10:05 AM

6. Complaints not ONLY in Virginia,

heard complaints repeatedly about Governor O'Malley's 'rain tax' in Maryland, one of the major anti-o'malley memes.

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