The Rain Tax Repeal Bill passed the General Assembly on the last day of session. SB 863 passed 138-1 in the House and passed 47-0 in the Senate.
The bill will repeal state-mandated stromwater fees, but still requires that local officials prove that they can pay to meet the federal requirements of the Clean Water Act. Counties will need to report a five-year projection of costs and revenues, including specifying funding sources, for permit compliance to the Maryland Department of the Environment. This means that nine counties and Baltimore City will still have the option to charge the rain tax.
Sponsored by Senate President Mike Miller, SB 836 replaced Governor Hogan’s simpler rain tax repeal bill. While Senator Miller’s bill is far from perfect and doesn’t completely abolish the rain tax, it’s a step in the right direction and we commend Governor Hogan for bringing attention to this issue. In a survey NFIB/MD members said that the rain tax was one of their biggest concerns and overwhelmingly responded that they would like to see it repealed. We’re happy to finally see progress on small business issues in Annapolis.
Outcome: This bill passed
Position: Key Vote, Support
Since its implementation on July 1, 2013 the rain tax has been one of, if not the most, unpopular taxes in Maryland. Currently property owners in Baltimore city and the state’s nine largest counties pay the rain tax. Small Business owners in these counties certainly felt the sting of the tax, with one of our members reporting paying $5,000 in fees per year.
Even though the Governor’s legislation failed to pass, Senate President Mike Miller’s rain tax bill SB 863 passed the Senate on March 20 in a unanimous 46-0 vote. This bill, like the Governor’s, would repeal the state mandate of the rain tax, and would allow local authorities to have the autonomy to determine their own options for funding storm water management programs. While Senator Miller’s version of this bill is similar to the Governor’s bill which died in committee, there is one difference which we believe make it weaker than the Governor’s version:
- Senator Millers’s bill requires local officials to report how they plan to reduce polluted runoff, and how they intend to pay for these projects. They will be required to report their progress annually. If the Maryland Department of the Environment is unsatisfied with their progress they could withhold state funds for a variety of environmental projects.
NFIB supported HB 481 /SB 588, backed by Governor Hogan, unfortunately this legislation died in committee in a 14-7 vote on March 6.
View Photos Here NFIB was honored to have three members; Kurt Zanelotti, Calvin Reter and Wayne Harrison, participate in a rain tax press conference with Governor Hogan. The members spoke about the impact the tax has had on their businesses and expressed their support for its repeal. You can read more about the event here.
- WBAL TV | Promise kept: Gov. Larry Hogan’s bill would repeal rain tax | WATCH NFIB Member Wayne Harrison
- South Maryland News Net | Governor Larry Hogan Announces Legislation To Repeal “Rain Tax” | State Director, Jessica Cooper quoted
- Forbes | Tax Reform Needs to Rain Down on Maryland
- The BayNet.com | Governor Larry Hogan announces legislation to repeal “Rain Tax”
- South Maryland News Next | Governor Larry Hogan Announces Legislation To Repeal “Rain Tax”
- Maryland Reporter | Rain tax repeal gets hearing
- The Baltimore Sun | Senate stormwater fee bill gets rained on in the House
- WBAL TV | House votes 138-1 to end state-mandated stormwater fees
- Maryland Association of Counties | Heavily Amended Stormwater Fee Bill Passes on Sine Die