Maryland braces for “rain tax”

by Walter Olson on April 10, 2013

Back to the gravel walk? A new environmental program pressures populous Maryland counties to levy assessments on property owners based on their square footage of impervious surfaces such as roofs, patios or driveways that prevent rainwater from sinking into the soil [Blair Lee, Gazette; Maryland Reporter; Frederick News-Post; Anne Arundel County]

P.S. While some of the Maryland commentary has treated the idea as new and experimental, thanks to commenters for pointing out that it’s already a familiar part of the scene elsewhere.

{ 12 comments }

1 Speed 04.10.13 at 7:00 am

Maryland is not alone. This is from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District …
Stormwater Fees – A Stormwater Fee based upon a calculation of the amount of Impervious Surface on a parcel shall be imposed on every parcel within the District’s stormwater service area.
http://www.neorsd.org/I_Library.php?a=download_file&LIBRARY_RECORD_ID=4274

2 Mannie 04.10.13 at 10:51 am

That’s not all that uncommon. Stormwater conveyance and flood control costs are roughly proportional to the amount of impervious area.

Another common measure is to restrict the rate and sometimes the volume of stormwater allowed to be discharged from new development. That doesn’t address existing construction, however. They partially make up for that by reducing the rate enough to achieve reduction in downstream runoff rates, rather than just not making the rates rise.

3 Doug 04.10.13 at 11:42 am

What about sloped surfaces? That doesn’t seem “fair” that all the water that should have been absorbed by your hill was not, but instead, ran into my backyard and flooded my basement. There needs to be a hill tax.

4 wfjag 04.10.13 at 1:57 pm

Meanwhile, on the other coast:

Oregon criminalizes permaculture; claims state ownership over all rainwater – ponds and swales restricted – jail time for violators (July 29, 2012)
http://www.naturalnews.com/036615_Oregon_rainwater_permaculture.html

5 ras 04.10.13 at 6:15 pm

If the rainwater is govt property, taken illegally, then presumably foods grown with rainfall agriculture are illegal too.

6 DEM 04.10.13 at 8:48 pm

All your rainwater are belong to us.

7 Richard A Harrison 04.12.13 at 3:11 pm

This is utterly unremarkable in terms of stormwater runoff regulation. Sorry folks, nothing to see here.

8 theprez98 04.12.13 at 3:48 pm

Richard,

It’s remarkable in that we’re *already* taxed here in Anne Arundel County for stormwater runoff.

9 kellaher1984 04.12.13 at 6:26 pm

And O’Malley & his band of “Merry” men continue the abuse of Maryland residents

10 kellaher1984 04.12.13 at 6:40 pm

the tax needs not to be instituted in July 2013 because of all the taxes including health care, gas tax etc that will hit MD residents in 2013,
especially when the economy is struggling to take off.

11 Charles f benson 04.12.13 at 8:12 pm

Travelling across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, on the east side there is a man made wetland created by the north and south bridge span. Each year the wetland fulfills its identity by bursting forth with SAV’s and transitional zone plants. All the water in the wetland excepting for on small pipe which goes directly into the Bay, comes from run-off from the road surfaces of both road surfaces. The wetland is verdant and explosively lovely during the year and especially when the waterfoul arrive in the fall. Runoff from impervious surfaces such as parking lots, roofs and roadways is supposed to be one of the largest contributors to Bay pollution. If that is the case, why is the above described wetland so verdant while the Bay, just on the other side of the roadway has no SAV at all?
Secondly, why allow municipalities to use water from our aquifers, pollute it with nitrogen, phosphorous and chemical waste and then discharge it as treated effluent into the Bay?
Forget the rain tax, plant more deep rooted grasses next to impervious surfaces, build constructed wetlands for effluent discharge which will allow the water to slowly permeate into ground water in order to recharge the shallow aquifers.
Stop the madness!
CFB

12 lla 05.04.13 at 10:13 am

do they consider decks impervious yet?

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