ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — What to do about the rain? Lawmakers in Annapolis are debating whether the state should continue to collect that controversial stormwater fee, known as the “rain tax.”
Political reporter Pat Warren was at a hearing that got a little stormy.
The Senate committee that moved the rain tax forward in 2012 is now being asked to take it back.
“Peoples’ rain tax was higher than their property tax,” said Sen. James Brochin.
Nancy Correlli tells WJZ about the day she opened her first rain tax bill.
“The first time I opened the bill was outrage. I was shocked that we were hit with a $4,700 tax bill over and above our normal $16,000 tax bill,” she said.
The rain tax is a storm water management fee that was imposed on residents and businesses in certain counties, mandated by the state in order to comply with EPA regulations about rain washing pollutants into the sewers and out into the Chesapeake Bay.
The Senate is hearing three bills all aimed at repealing the rain tax–one of them proposed by Governor Hogan.
“It’s nearly universally despised by an overwhelming super-majority of taxpayers throughout the entire state,” the governor said.
Environmentalists testified against the repeal.
“Every summer I listen to storm water warnings from our health department saying don’t swim for 48 hours after it rains,” said Allison Prost, Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “And until I stop getting those messages, I’m going to keep advocating for this work.”
Although allowing the counties to determine their own storm water management funding may have political appeal, environmentalists are afraid the bay will be shortchanged.
Senate President Mike Miller has a rain tax bill of his own, which will be heard next week.