Baltimore County’s Rain Tax Is Likely on the Way Out

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Silted stormwater runoff going into storm drain in Mount Rainier, MD.

Baltimore County’s much-debated (and much-misunderstood) stormwater remediation fee, better known as the “rain tax,” is likely to be phased out over the next two years, thanks to a new city council bill.

The fee helps with pollution control, as well as problems caused by runoff during storms. But its opponents argued that it placed an undue burden on property owners. Governor Larry Hogan made getting rid of the mandated tax (and therefore allowing jurisdictions to decide for themselves whether to impose the tax or note) a cornerstone of his first term.

Eliminating the tax will mean $16 million less for the county to work with, the Baltimore Sun reports. But because stormwater remediation projects are mandated by a federal agreement aimed at improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay, the county can’t just cut them. That means they’ll either have to find another $16 million worth of projects to eliminate or raise the money otherwise.

All seven county council members sponsored the bill, which basically ensures that it will pass.

In Baltimore City, council member Carl Stokes recently announced a proposal to reduce the fee by half by 2017.

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