Maryland Reporter Summarizes Final Fate of Proposed Environmental Taxes in 2015 Session

An April 21 article summarized the final fate of new taxes and fees, mainly in the environmental area, considered by the Maryland General Assembly during the 2015 Session:

Chicken Tax

The “Chicken Tax,” or “Bay Equity Tax,” proposed a five-cent fee on every chicken provided by poultry owners to farmers in the state, totaling an estimated $15 million annually. As proposed, the bill would have shifted bay restoration funding and resulted in a spending cut to cover crops and increased funding for septic upgrades. …

However, the House Environment and Transportation committee gave the bill an unfavorable report and it was withdrawn. …

Bag Tax

The “Bag Tax,” or the “Community Cleanup and Greening Act of 2015,” would ban plastic bags on “most retailers” statewide, with a 10-cent fee put on the sale of paper bags.

“It’s an elegantly simple idea…Over 180 municipalities around the country already do this,” said bill sponsor Del. Brooke Lierman, D-Baltimore City. “They recognize that we are spending millions in clean up costs, cleaning up litter all over our streets, our waterways and our playgrounds.” …

[The legislation] received an unfavorable report by the House Environment and Transportation committee. …

[Bottle Tax]

Also being held back by the Environment and Transportation committee was the “Bottle Tax,” or the “Maryland Redeemable Beverage Container and Litter Reduction Program,” which would create a committee to regulate a 5-cent tax on bottled beverages that could be redeemed if the bottle was returned.

Rain Tax, is it truly a repeal?

Also on the governor’s desk is the repeal of the 2012 Stormwater Remediation Fee, or more publicly known as the “rain-tax.”

“This bill is not perfect, but it does change ‘you shall charge a tax’ to ‘you may charge a tax’,” [Delegate and House Minority Whip Kathy] Szeliga said.

The Bottle Tax legislation was sent to summer study by the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. Lierman indicated that she plans to reintroduce the Bag Tax legislation next year.

The article also covered the failure of proposed $1 a pack increase on cigarettes (tobacco tax) and the passage of legislation modifying how the hotel tax applies to online travel sites.