Maryland To Tax Residents When It Rains

Death and taxes, right?

Don’t get us wrong. We’d be disingenuous if we didn’t admit that taxes are really more good than evil, and, at the end of the day, they go toward services we both rely on and are entitled to. But sometimes the way the federal government or the individual states milk that money out of the taxpayer has us banging our heads against our keyboards.

Case in point: The state of Maryland has now instituted a “storm management fee,” which essentially means that residents will be taxed for the rain that falls on their property.

The decree comes down from the state’s Democratic governor Martin O’Malley but seems to actually stem from an Environmental Protection Agency order aimed at cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay estuary. The law was passed last year in order to find revenues to fund the initiative but will now be officially enforced.

The rationale is that “roofs, driveways and carparks create more potential for drainage problems and water contamination,” so a fees will be doled out based on a building’s size and surrounding paved surfaces.

Translation: Rain tax.

Critics are primarily encamped across party lines, with Republicans slamming the initiative as invasive and excessive. One former senate candidate criticized Maryland officials, saying: “out of touch political aristocrats in Maryland will do anything to diminish your economic liberty and starve your wallet while padding theirs.”

The rain tax seems to have its defenders, but you get the idea that not even the Democrats are advocates for it. One Democratic senator argued that the state’s hands were tied by the EPA order and that the legislature was up against a wall.

“When I look at this amendment, I’m reminded of the saying, ‘You can pay me now, or you can pay me later,’ ” he said.

What do you think? Is Maryland’s “rain tax” excessive and ridiculous, or is it the only way the state could honor the EPA’s order? Sound off on this controversy below!

[Image via: Juni from Kyoto, Japan, Wikimedia Commons]