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Basu on rain tax: They get you on the bounce

131115BasuLeave it to an economist to sum up how Maryland’s stormwater management fee works.

“They get you on the bounce,” said Anirban Basu, chairman and chief executive officer of Baltimore-based Sage Policy Group.

Basu made his comments to the Maryland Rural Counties Coalition during a 90-minute presentation on the economic effect and impact of rural areas of the state. [Subscriber access.]

“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.

“Then in 2012, the Maryland legislature figured out how to tax the rain—you get them on the bounce,” Basu said. “You can’t get it while it’s in the air but once it hits your property, that’s yours. That’s on you.”

The fee is likely to be the subject of a number of bills in the upcoming 2014 General Assembly Session.

You can read more about the stormwater management fee bills [subscriber access] and the coming session in the first of a series articles highlighting issues in the upcoming General Assembly session in preparation for Annapolis Summit 2014, a two-hour program on Jan. 8 featuring Gov. Martin O’Malley, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch.

The summit will be hosted by Marc Steiner, whose The Marc Steiner Show on WEAA 88.9 FM is broadcasting a weekly feature on the same subjects as the newspaper series. This topic will air on WEAA Friday at 10 a.m. and will be posted at