Rain Tax

There has been much in the news following the end of the 2013 General Assembly session about Gov. Martin O’Malley’s “Rain Tax.”

This law was actually passed in 2012, and at the time I called it the worst bill passed that year. It forces Maryland’s “metro” counties to enact a tax on the amount of impervious surface people have on their property. The statewide amount of the tax could reach into the billions.

The reason it catapulted into the news in recent weeks was a failed attempt to pass legislation delaying the implementation of this tax for two years.

On that bill was an amendment to exempt Carroll County. Our present and past commissioner boards have consistently fully funded storm-water runoff mitigation. Carroll County’s storm-water management program meets all the EPA requirements.

The rain tax is part of an ongoing effort by Gov. O’Malley’s administration to have the state micro-manage and control what counties do in traditionally local operations.

By forcing Carroll County and others to create a tax on every homeowner, the important principle of local control is taken away.

The scariest part is that the idea of a rain tax seems perfectly reasonable to the extremely liberal Democrats who run Annapolis.

I support sensible environmental protections and actions that will actually clean up the Chesapeake Bay.

But I do not support using environmental protection as a cover for an agenda of government confiscation and control.

Our county commissioners are looking for ways to keep this from hitting taxpayer wallets, either by making the fee minuscule or charging a fee and then giving a credit on property taxes. They’ve joined me and other Carroll legislators in speaking out strongly against this.

If the idea of a tax on rain upsets you, understand that these kind of extreme policies are the direct result of one-party rule here in Maryland.

As a person who tries to be an independent-thinker, I’ve been disappointed by the lack of understanding in Annapolis about what working people are going through in our communities. I’ve tried to find common ground where I can, with some success.

But when one side believes the government should always spend more, tax more, and have a hand in every choice people make, common ground is difficult.

To really change things, we must take action statewide in 2014.

Del. Justin Ready, Republican

District 5A, Carroll County

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