Delegate urges Carroll residents to oppose rain tax, gun control measures

Carroll County residents can expect to see the county's proposed "rain tax" structure within the next month-and-a-half, but Del. Justin Ready urged residents to support their local officials as they fight the new fee and regulations from the Firearm Safety Act signed into law Thursday. 

"When they stand up to the state, they're going to get criticized," Ready said to a crowd of more than 250 at the Westminster Senior Center.

The Carroll County state delegation hosted a town hall Thursday to discuss legislation recently passed in Annapolis, including the stormwater fee more commonly known as the "rain tax," Firearm Safety Act, gas tax and the state budget.

The state's Watershed Protection and Restoration Program, signed into law last year, requires 10 counties, including to Carroll, to collect fees to pay for stormwater management as well as stream and wetland restoration projects. The projects are aimed at improving water quality and reducing phosphorous and nitrogen entering the Chesapeake Bay.

All property owners, except state and local governments and volunteer fire companies, are required to pay the fee, which will appear in the July tax bill as a line item, similar to trash and fire fees.

Del. Susan Krebs said the legislature is "likely to modify" the stormwater fee next year.

With the Board of Carroll County Commissioners set to host a public forum Wednesday to discuss and possibly vote on a resolution opposing the state's gun control measures, Ready urged those in attendance to support the commissioners' actions.

He called the Firearm Safety Act an "unprecedented assault" on the right to keep and bear arms.

National Rifle Association liasion to Maryland Shannon Alford said the NRA is prepared to move forward with a lawsuit against the state's gun control regulations.

Alford said she was not at liberty to discuss the details of the impending suit, but added the NRA is "deadly serious" about pursuing the litigation.

Montgomery County resident Sue Payne isn't convinced the NRA will move forward with its lawsuit, saying the organization believes fighting the Firearm Safety Act is a "lost cause."

Payne and her organization Free State Petitions were collecting signatures before the town hall in an attempt to send the gun control bill to referendum.

Payne said she collected about 300 signatures Thursday in her attempt to collect more than 18,000 by the end of May.

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