Maryland county executive resists ‘rain tax’

Officially titled the “storm water management fee,” Maryland’s “rain tax” received its first pushback this week from Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman.

Neuman vetoed the tax proposal, which was intended to raise funds to clean up the Chesapeake River.

“Her decision, one of her first major actions as county executive, gives the council about two months to come up with a new plan or override the veto with a supermajority of votes,” the Capital Gazette reports.

“It’s very clear to me that a majority of residents don’t know that this tax is coming in July,” Neuman said to a gathering of people Thursday.

“I walked up to people in grocery stores and asked them, do you know your taxes are going up in July?” she said. “Not one person knew about it. Our county has done almost nothing to inform the public.”

Democratic Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley engineered the passage of the storm water tax earlier this month, despite efforts from Republicans to dismantle the bill. Nine counties now have to administer a fee based on the size of pavement on the property. It would be applied to all property, including nonprofit organizations and churches.

It is up to the individual county to determine how to implement the tax.

The fee vetoed by Neuman would have cost “$34 for townhouse and condominium owners, $85 for owners of most single-family homes and $170 for owners of most homes in rural areas,” the Gazette reports. The measure narrowly passed the Ann Arundel County Council.

According to the taxpayer advocate group Change Maryland, the statewide cost of the tax could reach $300 million annually.

O’Malley has recently been criticized by conservative groups for the 37 taxes and fees he has implemented since taking office — taxes that Change Maryland estimates could cost Maryland residents nearly $3.1 billion annually.

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