ANNAPOLIS—Gov. Larry Hogan kept the promise he made in his State of the State address and moved forward on Tuesday proposing a bill to repeal the state’s stormwater management fee law. In 2012, the General Assembly passed a bill requiring the 10 largest jurisdictions to enact a “stormwater remediation fee” on property owners. The fee […]
ANNAPOLIS—Gov. Larry Hogan kept the promise he made in his State of the State address and moved forward on Tuesday proposing a bill to repeal the state’s stormwater management fee law.
In 2012, the General Assembly passed a bill requiring the 10 largest jurisdictions to enact a “stormwater remediation fee” on property owners. The fee charges property owners an amount determined by the jurisdiction for impervious surfaces such as roofs, pipes, paved surfaces and concrete channels on their properties. Opponents of the bill gave it the moniker “the rain tax.”
During his campaign, Hogan denounced the law and promised to repeal it. He repeated his promise during his state of the state address.
“Passing a state law that forces counties to raise taxes on their citizens against their will is not the best way to address the issue,” Hogan said. “Marylanders have made perfectly clear that further taxing struggling and already overtaxed Marylanders for the rain that falls on the roof of their homes was a mistake that needs to be corrected.”
According to a press release the governor’s office, Hogan wants to allow local authorities in separate jurisdictions to decide how they fund and handle stormwater management options.
By repealing the law municipalities and counties will no longer have to establish and annually collect a stormwater remediation fee.
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker said he does not support repealing the law. Additionally, he said Hogan’s bill may not matter because the law is required by the Environmental Protection Agency.
“The governor did talk about repealing the rain tax but the problem with that is it’s a federal mandate, so the repeal of that would really have to take place at the federal level,” Baker said. “Short of that happening, I think, the approach we’ve taken in the county is to enter into a public-private partnership and use the stormwater management as an opportunity to create jobs.”
Baker said he wants to see stormwater management laws remain intact because of the boost they provide for the economy. However, he said Prince George’s does not want to be the only jurisdiction providing funding to the state.
“We certainly, as a county, don’t want to carry the complete load for the entire state when it comes to the stormwater management federal mandate,” Baker said. “At this point I didn’t see anybody talking about getting rid of it at the federal level, which is the only way it can be gotten rid of.”
Delegate Jay Walker, chairman of the Prince George’s County House Delegation, said it is unfair for Hogan to ask for some counties to cooperate with the tax and not require others to do the same.
“We’ve been anticipating this. I don’t think it’s fair to allow some counties to do it and allow other counties not to do it. I think that’s something they’ll have to address,” Walker said. “But in Prince George’s County we are prepared for it. It is a federal mandate, so we’re going to follow the federal guidelines.”