Maryland Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley came under attack yesterday from conservative website Brietbart.com, who are claiming his plan to combat state pollution is in fact a new tax for the amount of rain that falls on a property.
According to Breitbart the tax, officially named a 'storm water management fee,' is in reality a tax on rainfall and about as justifiable.
But O'Malley's office counters that in fact the new tax, which will be enforced in nine of the state's counties, was passed by the state legislature in 2012 to 'raise revenue to cleanup the Chesapeake Bay.'
When rain falls on paved surfaces the runoff sweeps away oil, gas and other residue depositing toxins on unpaved areas or runoff drains, O'Malley's office reasoned. The runoff then finds its way to the ocean or another body of water like Chesapeake Bay and poisons it.
O'Malley's administration is enacting tax levies on the areas responsible for polluting the oceans and bays, which has been happening with increasing frequency in Maryland.
But former 2012 GOP U.S. Senate candidate Dan Bongino lashed out at the new tax in a press release yesterday. The new law 'requires individuals, businesses, and even charitable organizations and houses of worship to pay a tax based on the amount of rain that falls on their property and the 'impervious surfaces' on their land,' Bongino fumed.
The tax, mandated by the Enviormental Protection Agency (EPA) and enforced locally, will be calculated 'through satellite surveillance of your property,' Bongino added. Bongino then went on to criticize 'out of touch political aristocrats in Maryland will do anything to diminish your economic liberty and starve your wallet while padding theirs.'
But O'Malley's office counters that their real goal is to reduce pollution in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay 'from the wastewater, urban runoff, septics, agriculture and air pollution sectors,' by 2020 instead of 2025, five years ahead of the Environmental Protection Agency's deadline.
According to the conservative organization Change Maryland, the rain tax will cost about $300 million annually, suggesting tax payers and not polluters would be its targets.
One critic writing in the Capital Gazette yesterday claimed O'Malley has passed off the 'rain tax' to the 10 largest counties to pay for it, wondering why not the others?
The answer appears to be that the EPA is requiring each state and the district to reduce harmful nitrogen and phosphorus levels by 25 percent, and sediment levels by at least 16 percent by 2025 as part of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load.
But the conservative letter says he believes O'Malley is really motivated by the desire to punish Anne Arundel County residents for their lack of support for him and his lawmaker friends, citing the added pressure on small businesses there who will likely be taxed.
POLL: Who won the first presidential debate, Clinton or Trump?