Sun Derides Stormwater Fee Repeal as “Charade”

As the General Assembly focused on stormwater issues, the Baltimore Sun editorial board offered its thoughts — and suggested that the heavily-amended stormwater fee repeal legislation (SB 863, heard earlier this week in the House) may be counterproductive.

Curiously, they hinge much of their argument on a letter submitted by the Carroll County Commissioners, who essentially opposed the legislation passed by the Senate (and its many additional penalties and reporting requirements), despite actively opposing the so-called “rain tax” law since its inception.

From the Sun editorial:

As they [the Carroll County Commissioners] see it, the repeal “could actually harm Carroll and significantly increase compliance costs without any additional environmental gains” because the county would be subject to more stringent requirements for explaining its plans and financing. It might just be better to institute a fee, they concede.

So there you have it, straight from the epicenter of rain tax derision: Repealing the stormwater fee requirement is worse than keeping it. Perhaps now we can drop this whole charade, admit that the state has to do something about polluted stormwater and have an adult conversation about the best way to pay for it. But for what may be the first time in recent memory, we find ourselves agreeing with the Carroll commissioners: Perhaps it’s best to leave well enough alone.

Read the Sun’s editorial online.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties