Unlimited Access. Try it Today! Your First 10 Days Always $0.99
News Opinion Readers Respond

Tax pollution, not rain

I feel the stormwater fee has failed to achieve its goal which is to reduce the pollution that makes it into the Chesapeake Bay ("Churches seek break on city stormwater fee," June 12). The current implementation of the stormwater fee unfairly fines those of us that are making investments in reducing pollution at the benefit of those that are not. For example, two people have identically sized lots. Person A has a lawn service dump fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides once a week on his lawn. Person B planted drought tolerant ground cover that does not require any chemicals at all. Both Person A and Person B pay the same stormwater fee regardless. There is no incentive for Person A to reduce his bad habits and Person B feels jaded for all his efforts to do the right thing. Businesses are not encouraged to clean up their acts either. Two identically-sized business properties would pay the same stormwater fee. Yet one could have a parking lot full of manure and coal while the other could contain brand new electric vehicles.

The end goal is to reduce the pollutants in the bay. The best method to accomplish this is by taxing the pollutants at the source. Just as cigarettes, liquor and other products have an additional tax upon them, pollutants should have a tax as well. As people have suggested a carbon tax on all things that produce carbon dioxide, I am proposing a pollution tax that would be based on the amounts of pollution in items that typically end up in the bay. This might include fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides and automotive fluids like antifreeze and oils. The more toxic and concentrated the pollutant, the higher the tax.

How effective would the cigarette tax have been in reducing smoking if instead of taxing the cigarettes we equally taxed everyone for the wind that blew the smoke into other people's lungs? The stormwater is not to blame, it is the pollution that needs to be addressed.

Frank Smith, Glen Burnie

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Rain tax: Noble goal, unfair execution
    Rain tax: Noble goal, unfair execution

    Kim Coble of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation laments that Maryland county officials are considering rolling back their stormwater remediation fees. ("'Rain tax¿ is rolling back," Jan. 26.) In 2012 the Maryland General Assembly passed HB 987 requiring nine Maryland counties and Baltimore...

  • Rain tax proponents are missing the larger issue
    Rain tax proponents are missing the larger issue

    In her letter to the editor ("The stormwater fee and the will of the voters," March 12), Katherine W. Rylaarsdam has bought into the protecting-the-environment argument too strongly and is ignoring the larger issue.

  • Rubbed the wrong way by the rain tax
    Rubbed the wrong way by the rain tax

    Commentator Mileah Kromer makes it clear that her polls indicate people are dubious of whether stormwater runoff contributes to pollution in the Chesapeake Bay ("The rub of the 'rain tax,'" March 8).

  • The rain tax is unfair because not all pay it
    The rain tax is unfair because not all pay it

    I'm for the stormwater management fee if it is paid by all ("End 'rain tax' ridicule rap, repeal and replace law," Feb. 28). It is ridiculous to tie it some counties and not all. In the state of current dynamics, just about all contribute to the problems, and just about all will benefit from...

  • We all must assume responsibility for the bay
    We all must assume responsibility for the bay

    I think Dan Rodricks' suggestion for a new flush tax is a promising alternative to the storm water management fee —one that would hold us all personally responsible for the health of the Chesapeake Bay ("End 'rain tax' ridicule rap, repeal and replace law," Feb. 28).

  • The voters wanted the 'rain tax' repeal
    The voters wanted the 'rain tax' repeal

    I cannot believe that The House Environment and Transportation Committee voted 14-7 to kill the bill to repeal the "rain tax" ("House panel kills Hogan's stormwater fee repeal," March 6). This was one of Gov. Larry Hogan's platform issues about reducing taxes that helped get him elected, and...

  • The stormwater fee and the will of the voters
    The stormwater fee and the will of the voters

    The House Environment and Transportation Committee rejected Gov. Larry Hogan's proposed repeal of the stormwater management fee ("House panel kills Hogan's stormwater fee repeal," March 6). Proponents of repeal, predictably enough, are complaining that the voters "spoke" last November.

  • Churches should not have to pay stormwater fees [Letter]
    Churches should not have to pay stormwater fees [Letter]

    In response to your paper's recent article about churches paying stormwater fees, I would point out that churches provide heavily discounted space for community groups and that many house affordable kindergarten and nursery school programs and provide food and shelter for at-risk populations...

Comments
Loading