From Harford County government:
Stormwater Fee Repeal Introduced at County Council
As you have probably heard, my administration has introduced local legislation for a full repeal of the county’s Stormwater Remediation Fee, also known as the Rain Tax. I’d like to briefly explain how we arrived at this decision.
Despite my strong opposition to the 2012 state legislation that required certain counties to charge a fee, we passed local legislation pursuant to our requirements under the state law. We did so in good faith in order to remain in compliance with the new law by the specified deadline and to avoid the costly penalties that had been threatened. At the time I had, however, many serious questions regarding this state-required fee and the projects that it would fund, including:
1. How the inconsistencies in the application of the fee from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, as well as within individual jurisdictions, could be justified and whether it passes a basic test of fairness;
2. Whether the data and science used to determine the baselines and benchmarks related to stormwater were sound;
3. What the specific penalties for noncompliance with the state-mandated stormwater fee or with required stormwater remediation benchmarks would be; and,
4. How the expenditure of tens of millions of dollars in county funds, as well as the significant burdens placed on taxpayers and businesses, can be justified in order to achieve a relatively small reduction in locally-produced stormwater pollution when far more nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment are flowing into the bay each day from a variety of sources in neighboring states.
To date, none of these questions have been adequately answered by the State of Maryland or the federal EPA. In fact if anything, there are even more questions. On the local level, programs for managing the system of credits for remediation practices and for the awarding of projects and grants have not been sufficiently created given the lack of direction from the state or the creation of a local advisory board.
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. We have not, however, received any formal notification from the state related to this determination.
The fact that stormwater and urban runoff from Maryland accounts for just 5% of the sediment and 2% of the nitrogen and phosphorus in the Bay calls into question the need to undertake incredibly costly public works projects. We all want a cleaner Bay, but are we willing to stretch the household budgets of our citizens or to put local companies out of business to achieve just a fractional improvement in Bay quality?
Because of these reasons, on October 1 I introduced legislation to the County Council for a full repeal of Harford’s local stormwater remediation fee. I wish to thank and commend the County Council for their work, through which the first year fees were minimized and a task force was convened to study the issue. The period of time that they created to allow for the stormwater fee to be more adequately studied has made it possible for us to undertake this repeal deliberately and in a responsible manner.
David R. Craig
Harford County Executive
Jack Rabbit says
“The fact that stormwater and urban runoff from Maryland accounts for just 5% of the sediment and 2% of the nitrogen and phosphorus in the Bay calls into question the need to undertake incredibly costly public works projects.”
Does anyone know where this figure comes from? It’s kinda hard to believe the entire state contributes so little.
Sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus are also naturally occurring. The Chesapeake Bay Watershed is a huge area, stretching from upstate New York into southern Virginia, West Virginia, etc. You have taken his comment out of context. What Mr. Craig is saying, is that the runoff from homes and commercial properties in Maryland only account for that percentage, not all runoff in the state, which would include natural runoff.
Jack Rabbit says
I took nothing out of context that is a direct quote in a stand alone paragraph. Craig infers that 95% of the bays sediment and 98% of the bays nitrogen come form outside the borders of the great state of Maryland. These are very real numbers, so where is the sediment and nitrogen coming from? Are you saying Craig is twisting the facts? And considering the state is pretty much developed what is this thing you mention “natural runoff” and what would unnatural runoff be?
Actually he said that “stormwater and urban runoff from Maryland” are the source of 5% of the sediment and 2% of the nitrogen and phosphorus. So obviously there are other Maryland sources (MD wastewater, MD septic, MD agriculture, etc.), in addition to the sources in other states.
According to the Bay model available at stat.chesapeakebay.net, 8 trillion pounds of sediment enter the Bay in a year (2009 baseline data). Of that, 146 billion pounds were from MD urban runoff and 256 billion pounds were from MD stormwater. Those two together account for roughly 5% of the total sediment entering the Bay. So it looks to me like his statement is correct.
These are David Craig’s “facts and figures” that he chose to use. One can ALWAYS find facts and figures to bolster one’s position on any issue. Look, there are still folks out there that still believe the earth is flat (despite the overwhelming evidence against that belief).
That comparison MAY be a bit of a stretch, but, you get the picture. 🙂
Most of the poisonous runoff in Maryland comes from Annapolis
Craig forgets that he try to get a $125 per household fee. The Council cut it back to $12.50 per year. He is only trying to jump start his ill fated campaign for Governor.
silly marxist trix are for kids says
The fee is federally mandated by the chosen one obumma
His campaign will be over Tuesday, June 24, 2014 after the primary. After that day he will have plenty of time on his hands. Maybe he can try and run for Mayor of Havre de Grace in 2015.
Running against any of your relatives, he stands a good chance.
Dog, the Bounty Hunter says
David Craig is “willing to stretch the household budgets of” all Harford County employees (including general government, board of education and the sheriff’s department). That’s a lot of people (especially if you include their families and friends!) Good luck “Governor Wanna Be” Craig.
I’d be surprised if you carry your own County in the up-coming Republican primary!
Mr Craig, the number of businesses that will close due to a tax will be miniscule compared to those that will shut down thanks to YOUR new Walmart, the largest in Harford county, at 24/Plumtree. If only you expressed as much concern for that very REAL impending damage.
I can’t wait to drive through Bright Oaks everyday to get to Wal Mart.
I’m going to reving my engine real loud too.
I hope Bright Oaks likes rap music, with a lot of bass. Shit will be bumping at 2am when I roll through.
Hedley Lamarr says
Remove your mufflers, than rev the engine
Enjoy peace and tranquility while you still can folks, my bass be thumping too once Wally World is built.
3:30AM, Bass, and a 25MPH road is good times.
My budget is not being stretched by a $12.50 tax. Once again, Craig can tell us what he will not do, but not what he will do. That kind of political thinking has just shut down our government. Craig needs to wake up and smell the coffee, not the tea.
Otto Schmidlap says
The best thing a Harford County citizen can do to enhance the health of the Chesapeake Bay is to fertilize his lawn. According to the University of Maryland, a well-established lawn limits runoff. Mr. Craig is spot on.
Hedley Lamarr says
I believe in over fertilizing, More is good, I want more, I want more.
“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.”
In other words he wouldn’t stand on principle that he believed the law was wrong when he asked the County Council to approve taking $125 out of your pockets. Now all of a sudden he is willing to fight for us (but only after the threat of State sanctions is less likely – which very possibly is not the case). Where is the principled leadership in that approach? Just more political posturing from a candidate who is trying to shore-up the home county voter base (which is not that strong) and keep his name in the media.