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.”
Change Maryland describes itself as a nonpartisan grassroots organization “fighting to bring fiscal restraint and common sense to Annapolis.” Hogan, a former appointments secretary to Republican former Gov. Robert Ehrlich, has been mentioned as a potential candidate for governor in 2014.
The letters to which Hogan refers were sent last week by Gansler and Summers to Carroll and Frederick Counties warning that both were in violation of the 2012 law creating the stormwater management fee which is sometimes called the rain tax.
Carroll County did not implement an additional tax and instead opted to absorb the costs of required improvements meant to reduce the amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment from flowing into the Chesapeake Bay.
Frederick County did enact a stormwater management fee but set it at one-cent.
In the Oct. 25 letter to Carroll County, Assistant Attorney General Paul N. De Santis warns that noncompliance could lead to fines of $10,000 per day and warns that his office will “seek litigation, if necessary, and [an] order requiring the county to enact a stormwater management fee and fully comply” with the 2012 law.
Frederick County leaders received a similar warning.
“The rain tax has outraged Marylanders across the state, and leaders smart enough to realize the unpopularity of this tax have found alternative ways to fund their priority projects. For the state to force these jurisdictions to implement a rain tax just proves this is another money grab by the O’Malley-Brown administration,” Hogan said in his statement. “The attorney general is just as culpable as the O’Malley-Brown administration on this issue.”