Harford County Executive and Maryland candidate for Governor David R. Craig released today an economic impact analysis of the so-called rain tax which soaks a typical business that depends on parking lots, roofs and other impervious surfaces with thousands of dollars in fees. Illustrating the haphazard approach under the new Maryland law, a family-owned General Motors dealership used as a case study in the analysis would be required to pay anywhere from one penny in an outer suburban county to $12,000 per year in Baltimore City.
“If you wanted to open a business with a parking lot, would you want to come to Maryland and figure out this new tax?" asked Craig. “It is easier in our small state for many businesses to simply locate in Delaware, Pennsylvania or Virginia.”
The law, formally known as the “Stormwater Management - Watershed Protection and Restoration Program,” stems from the Obama Administration’s EPA mandate to reduce run off into the Chesapeake Bay. The O’Malley-Brown Administration signed the measure into law in 2012 with an estimated fiscal impact projected to be a staggering $14.8 billion. It is the costliest documented stormwater fee regime in the nation that the campaign could determine. The first stormwater fees were implemented in some jurisdictions across the country beginning in the mid 1970’s to help meet federal Clean Water Act requirements.
Baltimore City alone estimates it will collect $24 million from the rain tax per year. Baltimore, which already has the state’s highest property and individual income taxes, leads the state in taxpayer exodus according to the latest Internal Revenue Service data.
“Baltimore City is sealing its own fate like Detroit – a downward spiral caused by raising taxes and fees on a shrinking base,” said Craig. “Baltimore especially can ill-afford to saddle residents and businesses with the highest rain tax in the state; it will only circle the financial drain that much faster.”
Craig will hold a press conference on the rain tax on Tuesday, September 17 at Boyle Buick and GMC Truck in Abingdon. The announcement coincides with a scheduled visit to Maryland from Texas Gov. Rick Perry who is waging a media attack on the state’s business climate under the O’Malley-Brown Administration and a nascent grassroots secessionist movement in western Maryland that is likewise gaining media attention.
The O’Malley-Brown Administration has increased taxes, fees and tolls 40 times that remove an additional $3.1 billion out of the economy per year.
“There is a pattern here,” said Craig. “There is a growing class of ‘forgotten Marylanders’ – people who are left behind from all walks of life and from every part of our state who are required to pay record amounts of taxes, fees and tolls to support radical political rulers who no longer represent them.”