Critic may propose penny tax to cover rain tax mandate
5:19 PM, Apr 30, 2013
6:40 PM, Apr 30, 2013
WESTMINSTER, Md. -
Never mind the 25 acres of rolling pasture land.
A rain tax would cost the owner of this farm for every square foot of his driveway and for each of his three roofs.
But Richard Kutzner says he's already paid his fair share to prevent his rainwater from flowing into the Chesapeake Bay.
"I actually had to pay a $5,000 extra fee on my house when I built it for the bay that's called a dry well and it collects all the water off my roof, puts it into a tank in the ground and lets the water dissipate underground," said Kutzner.
In fact, Carroll County Commissioner Richard Rothschild says the entire county has already paid its fair share, and he's prepared to fight the law requiring it to assess the new tax.
"We spend millions of our general fund every year in order to be responsible stewards of the Chesapeake Bay," said Rothschild, "So we pay for that out of our general taxation fund, which comes from our piggyback tax and our property taxes and we do not need a new tax to fund abatement measures."
Along with concerns over overburdening the taxpayers, Rothschild is also questioning what they would get for their money.
He claims the state's approach to cleaning up the bay is way off base.
"What they've got us doing right now is spending an infinite amount of money," said Rothschild, "We're trying to drain the pollutants out of the Chesapeake Bay with an eyedropper while there are millions of tons of sediments coming through the Conowingo Dam every time it rains out and their de facto strategy of the Maryland department of the Environment of everything, everywhere at any price is not a formula for success. It's a formula for state bankruptcy."
Rothschild says if the county must pass a rain tax, he'll propose an annual rate of a penny per taxpayer, which he claims is more than they'll receive for it.