From Del. Kathy Szeliga:
July 1 brings the New Rain Tax!
Unfair, Uncertain, Unnecessary, Unwarranted, UGLY!
Those are just a few words that describe the new Stormwater Management fee – better known as the Rain Tax. If you don’t know how much your bill is, you’re not alone. The Rain Tax will appear on our property tax bills due out in July.
How Did We Get Here?
In 2012, HB 987 passed in Annapolis requiring the 9 most populated counties plus Baltimore City to charge property owners a stormwater utility fee by July 1, 2013. Stormwater is rain.
Arguments were made in the House of Delegates and the Senate to amend and even kill the bill. The measure passed largely along Party lines. I VOTED NO.
Environmental groups and the Leadership in Annapolis pushed this new tax through. They claimed that the EPA requirement mandated a new tax. However, Virginia sued the EPA and prevailed – proving in court that the EPA does not have jurisdiction to impose taxes and fees on states. The O’Malley/Brown team did not join in that lawsuit, but rather worked to pass yet another tax in Annapolis. And our Attorney General, Doug Gansler, did not fight for us either.
One more reason for Maryland businesses (i.e. jobs) – that will get hit with a huge Rain Tax bill – to leave and move to Virginia. Commercial properties, including some churches, shelters, soup kitchens, and animal shelters, will get taxed thousands and thousands of dollars per year in Maryland beginning July 1, 2013.
How will businesses pay for this new Rain Tax? They will pass it on to consumers. Gas tax, rain tax, sales tax, increased tolls, new fees, increased fees – it’s a steady drumbeat from the liberal leadership in Annapolis that hurts working families and senior citizens on a fixed income.
Unfair and Uncertain
If you live in one of the 10 counties identified in the law: Anne Arundel, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince Georges, you will be charged a Stormwater Management Fee – or Rain Tax. Each county and the city are mandated by the law passed (HB 987) to set up a fee structure. Each of the 10 jurisdictions is taxing at different rates. 10 counties + 10 different rates = mass confusion.
If you live in one of the other 14 counties that have not been required to charge a Rain Tax, you will not see a bill this year. However, it’s certainly possible for them to tax you next year. After all, most of those counties do impact the Bay too and the rain falls across our state not just in 10 counties.
What Is My Rain Tax?
Frederick Co has the best solution – charging only 1 penny! Residential, commercial, agriculture, non-profit, – all pay 1 penny per year! Blaine Young and the other Frederick Co Commissioners are showing good leadership by protecting citizens and taxpayers.
Baltimore Co Rain Tax – $39 single family, $21 attached home, commercial varies by impervious surface and could be tens of thousands of dollars, non-profits and churches will get a discount from the commercial rate but will still have a significant bill. Not all the property Rain Taxes are finished yet.
Harford Co Rain Tax – $12.50 single family going up to $125 next year. Commercial varies by impervious surface. Property owners can get up to a 100% credit on this tax for remediation on their property. Harford County has a great explanation on their website about this tax – Click Here to Read About Rain Tax The full tax will phase in over 10 years, this is just year one.
Baltimore City Rain Tax – still finalizing their plan. $48- $144 per residence, commercial is HUGE, highest in the state and non-profits and churches are still negotiating their rates.
Anne Arundel Rain Tax – $85 residential house, non-profits and churches $1 per year, commercial is huge and threatens to put some business under. The full tax will phase in over 3 years, this is just year one.
Montgomery – already is charging most of their citizens a rain tax!
Howard Co Rain Tax – $18 million per year will be generated! All properties are charged differently, about $75 year per residential house. Commercial and agriculture are high, and non-profits and churches have to pay too. Howard Co has a good website and property owners can estimate their Rain Taxes too – Click Here to Find Your Howard Co Property
Charles, Prince Georges, and Carroll Counties have not finalized their Rain Tax structures yet.
Except Frederick County, residential rates are different than commercial, non-profit and agriculture. Some counties charge less for townhouses than single family homes and others do not. Those properties with large parking lots – like malls and churches – will be hit the hardest. Anne Arundel County did the right thing and is protecting churches and non-profits by only charging $1 annually. Your church, like mine, probably has a large parking lot. That bill will be VERY high. Please warn your pastors, as they may not be aware that this tax is on the horizon.
Unnecessary & Unwarranted
Usually, before a tax or fee is passed or raised, there are identified problems and SOLUTIONS. There are NO shovel ready projects in any counties! That’s right – we will pay a Rain Tax in the 10 chosen counties, and government bureaucrats will find or create projects to spend our hard earned money!
The non-partisan Department of Legislative Services estimates that the Rain Tax will cost local governments $482 million each year through 2025.
To put salt in the wound, the EPA is using bad data to formulate their Chesapeake Bay cleanup goals! The EPA admits they’ve known about this for more than a year. Click Here to Read Article
We all want a clean Chesapeake Bay. Yet the EPA and the State of Maryland are ignoring the Conowingo Dam – which is a major problem and filled with pollution from Pennsylvania and New York.
Click Here to See Pictures and Article
Thanks for your continued support and prayers. I will keep you updated on this important issue as more information is made available.
As always, do not hesitate to call me if I can be of assistance to you and your family.
Delegate Kathy Szeliga
Maryland House of Delegates