Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

July 24, 2013

Should we also have to pay to clean up the Nile?

While Jeremy Gosnell’s letter of July 9 is a passionate defense of the Maryland “rain tax,” some of the reasoning and statements in the letter (“You’re not taxed on rain, but on your impact,” leave me wondering, not to mention the approximate $300 million it will cost Maryland residents. But Gov. Martin O’Malley never met a tax or fee he didn’t like.

There are substantive questions of the relative effect of storm water runoff from residences and businesses in Maryland versus other contributors such as the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania (but no room for detail here).

One also has to wonder which impervious (as the law states) surfaces contribute most to runoff: residences and businesses, or the extensive federal, state, and local highway and street systems we use daily. A mile of interstate is a heckuva lot of impervious surface.

The letter’s zeal for worldwide environmental protection is commendable but some statements make one wonder. “There is no person worldwide who can claim non-ownership or non-responsibility for…the health of any ocean or waterway.”

Once you use the word “responsibility” in this context, we’ve moved beyond the observation that the environment affects us all. Does this mean that people in Argentina and China should be taxed for the Bay cleanup? And U.S. citizens should pay to clean up the Nile? This sounds like the “one-world government” agenda.

When it comes to the environment, our very existence as human beings affects the environment in many ways. So will we be taxed for each child who is born because he or she will affect the environment? Surely we can’t be taxed based merely on our existence, can we? Oh, I forgot about Obamacare. I guess we can be so taxed.

Sure enough, Mr. Gosnell even writes that you are being taxed based on “ ... just how much of an impact your existence has on the planet.” And many of us believed this kind of thought lived only in novels by George Orwell.

As far as businesses paying the taxes, I suppose that malls could tear up their parking lots and let them become parking fields to save money, but the most likely progression is: malls pay “rain” taxes, then malls charge tenants (such as Sears) a higher rent to cover these taxes, then the mall tenants charge us more to cover the higher rent. We always pay. Always did. Always will.

There are many more questions regarding the July 9 letter, but one of Mr. Gosnell’s final comments is that “The Chesapeake Bay could once feed the entire world.” The entire world? In doing a very quick check on world population, it’s estimated there have been at least 300 million human beings alive at one time since about 500 A.D. That is the approximate population of the U.S. today.

So, the Chesapeake Bay at one point could feed the equivalent of the entire United States as it exists today? But that would have been over 1,500 years ago.

Somehow I want to combine parts of two songs. First, the Beatles’ lyrics: “ ... If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street, if you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat. If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat, if you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.” Then, from The Police: “Every breath you take.”

Seems we’re on the way to being taxed for breathing.

This writer is aware the tax in question does not apply to western Maryland at this time. The letter is intended to address concerns about the tax, no matter who is currently affected, and the letter reflects general differences of opinion regarding taxation, state governance, and political philosophy.

Patrick Brady

Cumberland

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Please return valuable items taken from woman’s parked van

    On July 8 at 2:33 p.m. my 16-year-old granddaughter Caitlyn Cook and I arrived at Children’s Medical Group for a 3 p.m. appointment.

    July 23, 2014

  • Preposterous Preposterous

    File this one under the We Thought We’d Heard Everything category: A man who attempted the armed robbery of a pizza shop is now suing the pizzeria and the employees who tackled him and wrestled his gun away during the holdup.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Legion honor guard available to honor veterans at their funerals

    We in the honor guard of Fort Cumberland Post 13, American Legion, performed 196 veterans service in 2013.

    July 22, 2014

  • No secrets No secrets

    The idea of fracturing for natural gas makes many people anxious about potential harmful effects. For that reason alone, it is incumbent on Maryland government to require full disclosure of chemicals used in the process.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Remember, we’re not immune to extinction

    I’d like to pose a theoretical scenario to Cal Thomas.

    If a medical specialist said, “Cal, you’ve got a serious physical problem. Do nothing and you’ll die soon. Follow my prescription, which involves certain life-style changes, and there’s a good probability you’ll live, even if your life may be a bit more constrained than now.”

    July 21, 2014

  • America has three branches of government for good reasons

    “Mikulski Calls for Continued Action to Protect Women's Health Following Dangerous Supreme Court Decision” is the heading you will find on Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s website.

    July 21, 2014

  • Tell legislators to do what is right for America’s vets

    Without our veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice, where would America be today? It is anyone’s guess, however certainly not the Freedom and Liberty we enjoy.

    July 18, 2014

  • Opposition and inclusion understood

    Those of you who have been here before know how I feel about the late great Len Bias, who I will remember foremost as Leonard Bias, the polite, spindly Bambi-eyed kid from Hyattsville’s Northwestern High School, who could throw a dunk through the floor, yet had the most beautiful jump shot I have ever seen.

    July 17, 2014

  • Move over Move over

    Have you noticed, in your travels, that the front end of a police cruiser usually protrudes a bit more than you would expect when the officer has it parked behind another vehicle on the side of the road?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Use local workers in building new Baltimore Pike travel stop

    As a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly representing Allegany County, and specifically the City of Cumberland, I welcome you to our community as you prepare to construct a Love’s Travel Stop at the above referenced location (on Baltimore Pike).

    July 17, 2014