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
  • Time to do it Time to do it

    It never made sense that criminal background checks were not made on medical license applications in Maryland. Fortunately — for the protection everybody — the background investigations may soon be a matter of routine.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • If you don’t like the way things are going, vote to change them

    I daily hear complaining about the decline of America. I also hear people say that things will only get worse and there is nothing we can do about it. Admittedly, I used to be like this.

    July 31, 2014

  • Thanks for publishing both sides, but only one was right

    Kudos to the Cumberland Times-News for publishing opposing Reader Commentaries (“Other groups get county funds, so should CHCO” and “No public funding for extremist organization,” July 30); a relatively minor issue, but a great demonstration of our cherished “Freedom of the Press.”

    July 31, 2014

  • Hold on a minute ... we know these guys

    Tom Bosley says this isn’t the Garrett County revival of “Space Cowboys”. They’re just getting the band back together — Bosley, Don Stemple, Oren Yoder and Matt Redinger. They’ve been there, done that, and they’re ready, willing and able to be there and do it again.

    July 31, 2014

  • They can say it’s in Timbuktu, but it’s still in West Virginia

    I feel that I have to respond to recent articles about the out of control Potomac Highlands Airport Authority.

    July 31, 2014

  • State would require disclosure of chemicals used at well sites

    A recent article (“Docs want full disclosure of chemicals that would be used in fracking process,” July 21, Page 1A) and editorial (“No secrets: Chemical use in fracking a concern to all,” July 22) in the Times-News might have caused confusion about Maryland’s proposal on public disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing.

    July 31, 2014

  • If we don’t sell it to them, somebody else will

    The front page article on coal exports by AP writer Dina Cappiello is one of the most asinine and biased “news” articles I’ve read (“Not in my backyard: U.S. sending dirty coal abroad,” July 29 Times-News, Page 1A).

    July 30, 2014

  • Research cost of watershed plan before implementing it

    July 30, 2014

  • ‘Prayers in the Park’ event slated Aug. 18 in Johnstown

    July 30, 2014

  • Not a villain Not a villain

    Time was that we looked for heroes. Heroes of the make-believe variety have sold a lot of comic books. We also had real-life heroes like Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, whose deaths the whole nation mourned.
    These days, we seem to be more interested in looking for villains. “Vote for me because I’m the good guy” has taken a back seat to “Don’t vote for him, because he’s the bad guy.”

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo