Cumberland Times-News

Local News

April 28, 2013

‘Rain tax’ may see changes

Fees established on parking lots, driveways, roofs

ANNAPOLIS —   The “rain tax,” as opponents have dubbed the stormwater runoff fees set to kick in July 1, is likely to be modified, key legislative leaders told a business group Thursday. The fees could amount to hundreds of dollars for residents of some counties and thousands more for businesses and even churches.

“As you see this thing played out, the legislature will do something,” Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Chairman Ed Kasemeyer told a Howard County Chamber of Commerce breakfast. It’s unclear when that might happen, since the General Assembly is not scheduled to meet again until January, and tax bills will hit mailboxes in July.

“I think it’s not over yet,” said Kasemeyer, who had sought to delay implementation of the fees for two years, amending a bill exempting nonprofit groups and churches from the charges. The Senate approved the amendment on the last day of the General Assembly April 8, but a House committee let the bill die.

“I don’t think it’s over with yet,” said Sen. Jim Robey, D-Howard and a subcommittee chair on the tax-writing committee. “We have to go back and make this tax better.” Delegate Frank Turner, another Howard County Democrat who is vice-chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, agreed, using the same words as Robey. “I don’t think it’s over yet.”

Last year in its final hours, the legislature passed a bill mandating that nine counties and Baltimore City establish fees on impervious surfaces such as parking lots, driveways and roofs, with the money going toward cleaning up stormwater runoff to protect the Chesapeake Bay.

“I think the legislature didn’t do an adequate job setting guidelines” on how the fees were to be applied, Kasemeyer said. Counties have taken different approaches implementing the fees, with low fees in some counties such as Frederick.

Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman an-nounced Thursday she was vetoing the measure passed by the County Council. She told The Capital newspaper that residents were unaware a new tax was coming along.

As one extreme example, Robey noted that the huge car import facilities on the south side of the Port of Baltimore are facing fees of $400,000 per year.

Other delegates have been approached by pastors complaining of the fee. Delegate Warren Miller, R-Howard, said one Clarksville church believes it will have to pay $30,000. And Delegate Steve DeBoy D-Baltimore-Howard, said a priest at St. Augustine Church in Elkridge told him, “This tax is really going to hurt us.”

Environmental groups supported the fees as a way to comply with bay cleanup mandates from the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The groups were so strongly in favor of the runoff fees that even though they wanted to exempt nonprofit groups, they successfully fought to kill that bill once Kasemeyer’s delaying amendment was approved.

There was intense debate over the fees last year, but it was only this year that opponents began calling it the “rain tax,” a catchier political slogan.

“I hope it will go the same way as the computer services tax,” said Sen. Allan Kittleman, R-Howard-Carroll. That tax was passed in the final hours of a 2007 special session, but was repealed a few months later when its impact on information technology industry be-come clear.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Easter experience Easter experience

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Game on: City interested in baseball study

    After it looked like the objection of a couple of constituents to a study on the feasibility of bringing a minor league baseball team to the area may have torpedoed the thought, county commissioners and some city officials sounded ready to sing a chorus of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on Thursday.

    April 18, 2014

  • DEREK SHEELY Charges against helmet maker stand in case of Frostburg player’s death

    A Montgomery County judge this week declined to dismiss charges against a helmet manufacturer in a case brought by the parents of a Frostburg State University football player who died of head injuries in August 2011 following four straight days of heavy contact drills in practice.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • GAYLE MANCHIN W.Va. BOE president speaks on issues at WVSDB

    West Virginia Board of Education President Gayle Manchin responded to issues at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind during an interview with the Times-News Wednesday morning.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • REGINALD REDMAN Moorefield man jailed on felony drug count

    A Moorefield man was arrested on various charges Thursday, including a felony drug offense for possession of amphetamines, according to the Keyser Police Department.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blossoming optimism Blossoming optimism

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cemetery group’s efforts revive Oak Hill grounds Cemetery group’s efforts revive Oak Hill grounds

    After you drive Alexander and Furnace streets then navigate a couple of switchbacks on Cemetery Road, you’d figure there would be no more uphill.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Proposed county budget holds most agencies flat

    After taking into account an income tax shortfall, Allegany County Finance Director Jason Bennett said he’ll propose a budget that holds most outside agencies to flat funding and funds the Board of Education at what county officials say are maintenence of effort levels for 2015.

    April 17, 2014

  • RYAN WOLF Wolf named 2014-15 Garrett Teacher of the Year

    Southern Garrett High School teacher Ryan Wolf has been named the 2014-15 Garrett County Teacher of the Year.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rep. Delaney discusses congressional gridlock Rep. Delaney discusses congressional gridlock

    While giving a civics lesson at Frostburg State University on Thursday, U.S. Rep. John Delaney, congressman from Maryland’s sixth district, told students that the polarization in Congress is due primarily to redistricting and a poorly designed Congressional schedule.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Facebook
Must Read
News related video
Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners