Not in Maryland where it’s just starting

Former senate candidate, Dan Bongino, discussed the “rain tax” on Fox and Friends.

One of our blessings in Maryland is that the legislature is only in session for three months. It limits the amount of damage our legislators can do. One of the late efforts of our representatives (more precisely, the representatives of an ever expanding government) managed, is what is being called derisively a “rain tax.”

A blog at Philly.com explains:

Yet we haven’t quite seen the likes of what’s going on in Maryland, where a so-called “rain tax” has set off a storms of protests. For example, see this essay by developer and commentator Blair Lee.

It is a fee charged to property owners based on the amount of impervious cover – driveways, concrete patios, and the like — on a given real estate parcel.

Since snow, rain, and their variants can’t penetrate hard surfaces, precipitation runs off and flushes pollutants, such as motor oil and pesticides, into waterways. So, theoretically, property owners who interfere with soil percolation should share the costs of cleanups.

According to the post nearby states, Pennsylvania and New Jersey are not considering such a tax.

But the Baltimore Sun, part of the high tax, big government elite not part of an independent “fourth estate,” derides the term “rain tax.”

To call this a “rain tax” is to try to make it sound like some absurd leftist plot to tax a natural process; to suggest, as one official did, that it’s a “tax on civilization” is to imply that the damage done by stormwater runoff either doesn’t exist or isn’t especially serious. That’s truly ridiculous. This isn’t merely about protecting the bay (although that alone would justify the program) but also about protecting the health of freshwater drinking supplies and preventing local flooding, two issues that should strike most Marylanders pretty close to home.

We could ask each individual to create a stormwater collection system on his or her property, but that would be absurd and impossibly burdensome. Like most matters of public works, this is one area where government must help get the job done. And when we expect our government to take on a new task, we have to provide the means to pay for it.

Some Maryland jurisdictions have already implemented this tax, which would be outrageous even if it were dedicated to its stated purpose. However, columnist, Blair Lee shows that it hasn’t been dedicated:

If I asked you to guess which Maryland county is already levying a rain tax on its citizens, you’d correctly answer “Montgomery,” the “more taxes, please” jurisdiction that collected a $17 million rain tax last year. So, since Montgomery County already has a rain tax in place (but only on residences) let’s take a peek at the future. Here’s how Montgomery County is spending some of its rain tax:

“(The county) holds workshops and training events to help residents understand how various projects work. Projects such as rain gardens, conservation landscaping, rain barrels and cisterns, drywells and tree planting are then offered to be installed on properties that qualify, based on the County’s assessment.”

So, I’m supposed to pay a rain tax so the county can train me how to plant a tree, which they’ll give me if, in its view, I qualify? Have we all gone mad?

This is a tax that will serve to create a new bureaucracy, which may but probably won’t address the problem it was created to fight. If fighting runoff pollution is an essential government service, why not cut less essential services and address the runoff problem with the resources saved? Shouldn’t governing be about setting priorities and making choices, not simply expanding government to address every perceived crisis?

In Virginia, the same designation by the EPA of rainwater as pollutant was challenged by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. A federal judge ruled against the EPA.

A federal judge ruled Jan. 3 that the EPA illegally overreached its authority in attempting to regulate water as a pollutant by imposing rules on the flow of storm water into Fairfax County’s Accotink Creek. Judge Liam O’Grady said the agency could regulate pollutants within water, like sediment, but not the water itself.

That’s what can happen when a state determines that its role is to protect its citizens’ interests, rather than feed its own growth.

It’s a song? Who knew? The Tax Prof did.

But a rain tax is only inevitable in a big government, high tax, state like Maryland.