On the heels of Maryland’s decision to enact tough new gun laws, the ironically nicknamed state (the “Free State”) will now impose a so-called “rain tax” on its residents.
The “storm management fee,” passed by the state legislature in 2012, will go into effect following a decree from Democrat Gov. Martin O’Malley.
“Fees will be calculated on the surface area of properties as the theory is that roofs, driveways and carparks create more potential for drainage problems and water contamination,” Metro explains. “Councils are supposed to determine how much to charge per square foot, but the fee depends on the size of the building and surrounding paved surfaces.”
So here’s the deal. The EPA gave Maryland an unfunded mandate to reduce runoff into the Chesapeake. The state then passed that on to the counties. The counties are now using this an excuse to raise taxes. Only…
And how does the state plan to spend these new tax dollars? It’s unclear:
The state law is kind of squishy. It can be spent to build and maintain stream and wetland restoration projects. And, of course, a lot of it will go to “monitoring, inspection, enforcement, review of stormwater management plans and permit applications and mapping of impervious surfaces.” In other words, hiring more bureaucrats to administer the rain tax program.
It can also be spent on “public education and outreach” (whatever that means) and on “grants to nonprofit organizations” (i.e. to the greenies who pushed the tax through the various levels of government).
In other words, it’s just going to be another tax. It will fund some cleanup, yes. And the Chesapeake does actually need the help (I know crab fisherman on the basin who’ve been having problems). But it will also fund anything else the state or county thinks is worth it.
Money if fungible. Taxes are fungible. In the end, all taxes go into a big pile. And after our leader are finished rolling around naked in it, they are free to spend it on whatever they like.
(About that Maryland gun law. In addition to banning 10-round magazines and “assault weapons”, it requires a license to buy a handgun, complete with a fingerprint requirement. The NRA is going to court and I think it’s unlikely that the Court will uphold this.)
O’Malley, incidentally, is being touted as a 2016 Presidential Candidate. His qualification, according to the pundits, is his unabashed liberalism. He has raised taxes and spending, restricted guns, banned the death penalty and supports same-sex marriage. He is doing what liberals wish the President would: just ignoring the small Republican minority (made easier by recent gerrymandering). Here’s a quote from him that will put a tingle up every liberal leg out there:
“I think we’ve been on a 30-year detour since Reagan’s time. And frankly, sometimes the Democratic Party’s been complicit in slinging this crack, that somehow the answer to every problem is to do less; that somehow, if the wealthiest among us pay less and less in taxes, that somehow jobs are going to sprout up all over the prairie,” O’Malley told POLITICO.
That 30 year detour, incidentally, included one of the biggest and most sustained economic booms in history until Bush and Obama messed it up. But yes, let’s go back to the “good old days” of double digit inflation and double digit unemployment and … oh, wait, we’re already there, aren’t we?
Of course, O’Malley’s actual achievements aren’t very good. He was a lousy mayor of Baltimore. That is, unless you consider expanding government an achievement in and of itself, which most Democrats do. When I lived in Baltimore, it was clear he was running for governor the whole time and taking credit for Baltimore getting better because it simply couldn’t get any worse. Under him, Maryland has become one of the least free states in the union and one of worst business environments. And while unemployment has fallen in Maryland, it has not fallen nearly as fast as the rest of the country, basically remaining unchanged for the last two years. The proximity of Washington has generally kept unemployment rates low in Maryland (mid 3’s before the recession). So today’s 6.6% isn’t as hot as it sounds.
But, hey! He passed the gun law Obama wants and hates small government. So … O’Malley 2016!