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  Maryland Soon to Roll Out the Rain Tax
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Last EditedScott³  Jun 30, 2013 09:37am
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AuthorAustin John
News DateThursday, June 20, 2013 03:00:00 PM UTC0:0
Description"In just a few weeks, Maryland’s new “rain tax” will take effect. In April, Governor Martin O’Malley signed a new law that enacted a “storm water management fee” on ten of 24 local jurisdictions within the state. The bill 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. These pollutants are primarily found in drainage run-off and fertilizers.

Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia must comply with these new environmental standards, but each state is free to find its own way to fund the relief efforts. Maryland is the only state that has instituted a levy to meet the EPA’s standards.

While a “tax” is a charge levied with the purpose of generating revenue, a “fee” is a charge levied for the purpose of recovering costs incurred in providing a service to the payer. So while the legislature as taken to calling this levy a fee, it is rightly categorized as a tax, because the revenue goes toward drainage systems, which everyone in the general public benefits from—not just payers of the levy.

What’s more, the tax is convoluted and disorganized. It is levied annually on the amount of “impervious surface” that is on a property. According to Maryland’s state legislature, an impervious surface includes any area that prevents drainage from being absorbed into the ground. This means any roofing, driveways, or parking lots are subject to this tax. The thought was the more covered area, the more you pay."
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