Cumberland Times-News

July 8, 2013

You’re not taxed on rain, but on your impact

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— This is in reply to Renae D. Bloss’ letter regarding the Chesapeake Bay and the rain tax (“By now the Chesapeake Bay should be as clean as Eden,” May 30 Times-News).

I don’t want to sound like an advocate of the rain tax, because like many Marylanders, I think it’s a bit absurd. I would like to talk about Bloss’ comments regarding Gov. Martin O’Malley and the Chesapeake Bay.

The Chesapeake Bay is not some waterway affecting only the eastern shore of Maryland, and certainly is not their precious bay, but ours collectively as the human race, worldwide.

The principles of ocean science dictate that Earth is really one large ocean, with varying regions. All ocean water and freshwater is connected, and we are all connected to it, based on the facts of ocean literacy. I could go into the scientific details of how this works, but space is limited.

The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary, a very important ecosystem that enriches the adjoining ocean water. The health of the bay, and the health of the ocean are intimately connected, and the health of the oceans and the health of mankind are intimately connected as well.

There is no person worldwide who can claim non-ownership or non-responsibility for the bay’s health, or the health of any ocean or waterway. As I stated above, the principles of ocean science tell us that in all reality, Earth has one big ocean which acts as our life support system.

I cannot think of a better way to spend tax dollars than to clean up something we all have equal stake in, the Chesapeake Bay.

Gov. O’ Malley is responding to new EPA guidelines that state the bay’s health is not up to par. Maryland can either get it up to par or pay a hefty federal fine.

The rain tax doesn’t tax you on each rain drop that falls, but rather the amount of runoff that is displaced by your home. Runoff directly impacts water quality of bay and ocean resources, no matter where you are as all water eventually makes its way back to the ocean.

Improving your runoff management system, installing rain gardens, etc., will all impact how you are taxed based on rain.

While the rain tax is surprising folks, there is a simple way of looking at it. In order to meet new federal regulations Marylanders in certain counties can make their home have less of an environmental footprint, or pay a tax.

You aren’t being taxed on how much rain that falls, just how much of an impact your existence has on the planet.

The Chesapeake Bay could once feed the entire world. Now it cannot, and has been rapidly declining for many years, largely a result of the actions of man.

By ignoring the rules of ecology and being illiterate in ocean science, we have plunged this vast resource into a downward spiral. A spiral, which in the long run, is proving very expensive to get out of.

Jeremy Gosnell