Governor Pledges He’d Veto “Chicken Tax”

A February 7 article reported that Governor Martin O’Malley has pledged to veto proposed legislation (HB 905 / SB 725) that would impose a 5 cent tax on each chicken  grown in the State:

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said Thursday if the legislature passes a 5-cent tax on each chicken grown in the state he’ll veto it.  …

His remarks came during the annual Taste of Maryland dinner and were reported by the Maryland Department of Agriculture on Twitter. Upper Shore state Sen. Steve Hershey also tweeted about the remarks.

“The truth of the matters is we’re one Maryland, we are all in this together. We cannot survive as a state unless agriculture is profitable in our state,” O’Malley said, in a video provided by the agriculture department. “I will tell you this – read my lips – if that chicken tax bill passes I will veto it.”

The article noted that while farmers were “overwhelmingly opposed” to the proposal, it was supported by the advocacy group Food and Water Watch, which helped develop the idea.

“That bill, if passed, will guarantee that there won’t be any poultry left in the state of Maryland,” said Worcester County Commissioner and farmer Virgil Shockley last Friday.  …

Michele Merkel of Food & Water Watch expected about $15 million to be raised annually, if the bill had passed. The Washington D.C.-based, nongovernmental organization and consumer rights group focuses on corporate and government accountability relating to food, water and fishing.

“It would hold the big companies partially accountable for their contributions by requiring them to pay their fair share toward necessary cost of bay cleanup,” Merkel said last Friday.