“The Maryland state legislature is very very creative,” Basu said of the so-called rain tax. “You know for time immemorial, literally thousands of years, dictators, emperors, kings, queens, tribal chieftains, the shogunate have been trying to figure out ‘How do I tax the rain?’ For thousands of years no one had been able to figure out how to do this, the brilliant minds of the past. Continue reading →
ANNAPOLIS — Republicans and Democrats alike appear to be lining up with legislation to alter and in some cases repeal the controversial stormwater pollution fee sometimes referred to as the “rain tax.”
Many have their eye on next year’s elections, and some are complaining of what they see as uneven application of the 2012 law across the jurisdictions to which it applies — eight counties and Baltimore city.
“You’re going to see a lot of stuff on the rain tax,” said Sen. Joan Carter Conway, D-Baltimore, chairwoman of the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.
Conway was one of the legislators who supported the bill a year ago. It was intended to require nine of the state’s largest counties, and the city, to meet federal mandates to reduce phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment runoff.
But implementation of the law has been different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and complaints have come from all directions — business owners, nonprofits and churches, and residential property owners. Continue reading →
Warning letters sent in October to two Maryland counties by Attorney General Doug Gansler and Department of the Environment Sec. Robert Summers have drawn strong, if not terribly swift, condemnation from the chairman of ChangeMaryland.org.
“Everyone wants a clean and healthy Chesapeake Bay,” said Larry Hogan in a statement released Wednesday. “But this most recent missive from the administration proves that this is more about increasing people’s taxes than protecting our Bay. It’s time for us to start electing real leaders who will fund important projects like cleaning up the Bay without breaking the backs of taxpayers.” Continue reading →
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot would like to see the governor and General Assembly expand what merchandise is covered under Maryland’s tax-free week during the annual state-subsidized sale.
The week-long tax break for clothes and shoes under $100 wrapped up last weekend, and Franchot said during Wednesday’s Board of Public Works meeting the temporary tax break came as a relief to Maryland families, especially those with children preparing to go back to school.
With the students in mind, Franchot said eligible merchandise ought to be expanded to include back-to-school items such as backpacks.
“Other states do that and I think it would be equally well received and successful” in Maryland, Franchot said.
Franchot’s office estimates that the state forgoes $5 million in tax revenue during the sales tax holiday but drums up lots of business for local retailers.
The Eye on Annapolis Podcast returns with a look back at a busy weekend in the House of Delegates.
Alex and I discuss the latest on the gun control and transportation bills and whether lawmakers will be able to resolve the major sticking points in the bills in the General Assembly’s final two weeks.
We also examine the prospects of tax increment financing (better known as TIFs) and reveal the man behind the medical marijuana bill.
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, who has made his opening statements at bimonthly Board of Public Works meetings can’t-miss political theater for at least the last year, returned to a favorite topic Wednesday morning: handicapping Maryland professional sports.
The first round of the NFL playoffs begins this weekend. The Ravens will host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at 1 p.m., while the Redskins will host the Seattle Seahawks at 4:30 p.m. The teams would have to win Sunday and then twice more to meet in the Super Bowl in New Orleans on Feb. 3.
It’s unclear whether Franchot’s endorsement is a good sign for fans of the Ravens and Redskins. Both the Orioles and the Nationals made the playoffs after years of ineffectiveness, but neither advanced past the second round.
What is clear is that having two teams in the NFL playoffs is good for the state coffers, Franchot said, because the teams’ success has put consumers in high spirits.
“Trust me, I can see it in the sales tax revenue,” he said. “People feel better.”