- The Washington Times - Friday, March 20, 2015

The Maryland Senate on Friday voted unanimously to end the state-mandated “rain tax.”

The Senate voted 46-0 for the bill that would allow jurisdictions to opt out of the tax, which is imposed on property owners in the largest counties for impervious surfaces, such as driveways and rooftops, to raise money to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.

The bill would allow the nine counties and the city of Baltimore that pay the fees to opt out, but they would still have to show that they meet the requirements to reduce runoff pollution.

The Senate measure stopped short of a repeal, as proposed by Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican elected in the deep-blue Maryland after pledging to roll back the state’s heavy tax burden. He made the rain tax his No. 1 target.

Mr. Hogan made the rain tax a symbol of what he characterized as the tax-and-spend policies of his predecessor, Martin O’Malley, a Democrat who is now eying a 2016 presidential run.

The strong bipartisan support for the Senate bill gave Mr. Hogan something to cheer about.

He called it a “tremendous victory for the taxpayers of Maryland.”

“As I have said over and over, forcing counties to raise taxes on their citizens — against their will — is wrong, and it has to end,” Mr. Hogan said.

The governor credited Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., Prince George’s County Democrat, with spearheading the effort after Democrats killed the governor’s bill to repeal the rain tax in committee.

He said that he looked forward to working with House Speaker Michael E. Busch, Annapolis Democrat, to advance the bill toward final passage.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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