From Harford County government:
Harford County Executive David R. Craig announced today that he will be introducing legislation in the County Council for a full repeal of the county’s Stormwater Remediation Fee, also known as the ‘Rain Tax.’
County Executive Craig made the announcement at Boyle Buick GMC Truck in Abingdon, a business which, like so many others, would be very negatively affected by this fee. Commenting on his proposed legislation, County Executive Craig remarked:
“When we passed local legislation pursuant to the new state law requiring that certain counties charge a Stormwater Remediation Fee, better known as the ‘Rain Tax,’ we did so provisionally and in good faith in order to remain in compliance with the new law by the specified deadline to avoid the costly penalties that had been threatened. At the time we had, however, many serious questions regarding this state-required fee and the projects that it would fund.
“To date none of our questions have been adequately answered by the State of Maryland or the EPA. In fact if anything, there are even more questions. I am now of the opinion that the leadership in Annapolis is no longer in a position to follow through on the threatened penalties for noncompliance given the public backlash that their ‘Rain Tax’ mandate has rightly received.
“Therefore, on October 1 I will be introducing legislation to the County Council for a full repeal of Harford’s local stormwater remediation fee. I have sent a letter to members of the County Council’s Stormwater Fee Task Force asking that they consider recommending that the Council support my administration’s legislation for a full repeal of the local stormwater remediation fee.
“I thank the County Council for their work on this issue, through which we provisionally passed a reduced fee and created a task force of citizens to study this state mandate. This period has allowed for the stormwater fee to be more adequately studied and has made it possible for us to undertake this repeal deliberately and in a responsible manner.”
Boyle Buick GMC Truck, where County Executive Craig made the announcement, is a family-owned local business that has been in operation for 45 years. It currently has 69 employees and weathered the recent economic downturn by maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction and customer loyalty, and by applying sound fiscal management and expense controls. Increasing pressures from government regulation and taxation, however, continue to hinder the long term growth of this and many other businesses around the state.
For the 2014 tax year Boyle’s provisional stormwater fee was $295, and at the full implementation level the fee would have been $2,953. To illustrate the inconsistent way in which the fee has been implemented and how it affects business decisions, Boyle’s fee would have been over $12,000 if it was located in Baltimore City, $7,300 in Baltimore County, and $0 in Carroll and Cecil Counties. Cecil is not yet required by the state to charge a fee, but Carroll is required.
The Maryland Stormwater Fee or ‘Rain Tax’ was signed into law on May 2, 2012 by Governor Martin O’Malley, having passed the Maryland House of Delegates by a 91-45 vote and the State Senate by a 33-14 vote. This action followed from federal EPA directives that the state of Maryland do more to address the issue of stormwater pollution caused by untreated impervious surfaces. County Executive Craig lobbied against the passage of the bill, and nearly all of the county’s General Assembly members voted against it.
The counties required to collect the fee are those that are subject to a Phase I Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit. One part of the permit requires counties to treat 20% of impervious surfaces by 2017. In addition, counties are required to comply with the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan for reducing nutrient loads originating from stormwater runoff. The total cost for the county to fully meet these permit requirements by 2017 is estimated to be between $70 million and $90 million.
In order to comply with the state mandate and to avoid the penalties that had been threatened, the Administration introduced council legislation to establish the Stormwater Remediation Fee and the Watershed Restoration and Protection Fund in February 2013. Harford’s fees were to be set at $125 for residential and agricultural properties, and $7 for every 500 square feet of impervious surface for commercial properties.
The bill as passed by the Council in April allowed for a significantly reduced fee of 10% of the full rate to be collected this year while a task force of citizens studied the state mandate and the fees in order to recommend a course of action for the future. Having arrived at the decision to repeal the fee in Harford County, County Executive Craig sent a letter to the task force on September 12, 2013 stating his intention and asking for the members’ support in doing so.
In summing up the situation, County Executive Craig stated, “While I share the desire for a clean and healthy Bay, as most of us probably do, I question the priorities of those in Annapolis who feel that no price is too steep to pay for only a marginal improvement in Bay quality. Our businesses and taxpayers expect us as county government to act as their last line of defense against over-the-top polices from the state and federal governments whenever possible, and that is what I intend to do.”
Thank goodness, someone with a good idea!!!!!!!
eyes wide open says
Read the comments below. Why now and not months ago?
phil pace says
rain rain go away, i already pay a “bay restoration fee” every quarter
Who woke him up?? Oh that’s right he’s campaigning for governor
eyes wide open says
Why didn’t Mr. Craig just refuse to introduce the rain tax legislation in the first place or veto any legislation passed by the Council Council? What is different now than it was a few months ago? Answer – NOTHING! To stand up to the State and Federal rain tax mandates back then would have demonstrated real conviction. This is just more political grandstanding by the want to be governor.
Hey Mr. Craig, where were you when the County Council passed this stupid bill? Why didn’t you pass a one penny fee like another county did? Why were you so quiet all this time? Did you just wake up. No wonder the republicans lose elections.
eyes wide open says
I could be mistaken but I believe the fees initially proposed in the rain tax legislation introduced by Mr. Craig were higher than what was eventually passed by the County Council. Does anyone else remember it being that way?
Dion F. Guthrie says
Yes, the Legislation call for a $125.00 tax on all home owners and the County Council reduce that to 10% or $12.50 per house hold.
William Munny says
Looks like David O’Craig put his flip flops on for election season…
I like how the legislation treated all homeowners equally. I pay the same tax on my town house that the mega mansion does!
ALEX R says
You would. All Lib/Dems like that when they benefit from it. Just another money grab by the State to appease their eco-lib goof balls.
It doesn’t benefit me!
Cdev, Well, I pay property taxes at the same rate as everyone else; yet I don’t have any children using the school system.
Point taken cdev. I wish everything percentage, so you would support a flat tax or fair tax, you know where everyone pays same amount regardless of income.
Same rate yes with a few basic deductions but not many
I’m sure you are frugal when you use your public roads, fire and police protection and clean air and water too. Brian… if you can’t hack society, remove yourself from it and the requirements on you will be less.
Then you will truly be a self made man.
Not self made, God made.
Seriously high on yourself. Figures.
I wonder what Because will do when he has successfully removed all of the taxpayers he loathes so much, from his communist utopia.
Crawl into your hole again B. The light is on
Thanks Cdev, I’d be interested to hear what basic deductions are and more importantly who qualifies for said deductions. But we can save that for another board or topic. Thanks for the cordial dialogue.
Basic like Taxes paid to other government entities, exclusively work related expenses (not like the phone you use for work and personal use), Charitable contributions.
another former student says
Just another Craig grandstand to try to get votes. he of the ” I’m term limited, please let me stay on the public dollar elsewhere”.
All showboat, it’s not a raintax. for years we farmers have worked to curb runoff, some do it well, some are so stuck in 1970 that they still wear plaid and have 8 tracks. Developers whined when they had to do stormwater management, it cut into their available land and cost $. But we all created the problem by following the same philosophy craig has. At least instead of having to do it with $ out of current budgets, it was given a mechanism to pay for it. And wow, it was left up to each county to decide how best to do it in their area. Do we all like it, not really, have we as a county and as a state done what we know has to be done and clean up the bay and its tributaries.. Nope. now time has come to do it, it costs $ and we all get to pay some. some pay more than others. why,, cause I live on a farm with lots of grass and trees which absorb runoff, and the others live in their little cookie cutter homes with driveways and a patch of grass like a postage stamp. and business’ have nice big buildings and parking lots with lots of dirty water running off them. so they pay more. I noticed in all his grandstanding, he doesn’t have any ideas on how to clean up the bay and streams in a reasonable timeframe and how to pay for it……. must have missed that part of his vote for me speech…
eyes wide open says
We are not the only ones to see right through this. An editorial in tomorrows local newspaper also questions Mr. Craig’s true motive and the timing of his proposed legislation.
I am anxious to hear what suggestions Craig has to protect our bay waters and what it will cost and who will pay.
Common Sense says
It is very clear you have no comprehension of how bodies of water work.
You are the most complete fool posting on the Dagger.
Please get some financial and ecological help.
Why do Republicans make it SO hard to support the GOP? The problem with storm water damage to the the rivers, streams and bay is settled. Anyone, except Craig apparently, can trace runoff from a parking lot, watch it flow into a storm water sewer, and from there to the streams. I stopped fishing and donated my boat to charity a few years ago because the Bay stinks and looks disgusting. I have watched crabs climbing out of the water during red tides so they could breathe. I do not touch the Bay anymore, even though I grew up working on a crab boat.
This broad scale rejection of all science, and similar moronic nonsense is mind numbing. Ironically, we have some of the best environmental and health related scientific institutions in the world, like Johns Hopkins, around us. I recommend people take guidance from them, not idiots like Craig.
The answer to storm water pollution control is long overdue.
Common Sense says
Is the Bay more or less fouled now or 30 years ago?