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Chesapeake Bay Foundation on Maryland Rain Tax: Time to own up

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Maryland lawmakers created quite a stir earlier this month once they passed the "Impervious Surfaces" tax, or Rain Tax that basically charges residents for rainwater. Now, the group in favor of the push is explaining why the tax is needed.

In an interview with Alison Prost, Executive Director at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, My Fox DC asked why ten counties in Maryland are being levied with the Rain Tax, even though not all counties are responsible for runoff pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.

"All residents of maryland are a pollution source," she replied. "Everyone wants to point the finger at some other source that's going to solve the problem. It's going to take all of us collectively, rolling up our sleeves, and also taking responsibility for the choices that we make. This is one way for Maryland residents to own up to the pollution they contribute."

The Rain Tax essentially charges homeowners for any surface of land they own that does not absorb rainwater. The ultimate goal, according to My Fox, is to reduce storm-water runoff and improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

"We see it as a crucial tool to clean up our local waterways," Ms. Prost added.

The ten counties responsible for levying the Rain Tax are to decide on a fee to charge residents by July 1. Until then, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation can't speculate how much the tax will help.

"We don't really know that number yet because the jurisdictions are still setting their fees," Ms. Prost said, adding that there are ways residents can lessen their fees.

"Homeowners can reduce their fee, like putting in a rain garden, putting in a rain barrel, or maybe detaching a few downspouts," she said.

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