Let's talk about that infamous "rain tax" that Martin O'Malley singlehandedly imposed on the poor citizens of Maryland a few years back. How many times have I listened to others ridicule the very idea of "taxing rain." The only problem is that it was a misnomer the entire time. HB 987 was called the Stormwater Management-Watershed and Restoration Program and became law in 2012. It imposed an annual fee on "impervious surfaces such as roofs, driveways, sidewalks, garages and any surface that could create drainage problems and water contamination situated on property owned by an individual or a business." In simple terms, we would raise funds to clean up the water feeding into our Chesapeake Bay and upgrade infrastructure to support the additional run-off due to development in the counties surrounding Baltimore.
For the record, those counties would include Howard County, where development was then and continues, at a staggering pace. As an aside, then state Sen. Allen Kittleman pre-filed a bill in 2014 to fully repeal this tax. That's right, the same Mr. Kittleman who is now Howard County Executive.
So now it is 2018. We all look on in horror as property, livelihoods and actual lives are swept away twice in two years, in Ellicott City. We are told they are "1,000 year storms." The citizens of that historic town are told yet again, to be strong. Your leaders are going to fix this. We will rally around you and help you rebuild your lives, yet again.
I am just wondering if any current leader will have the courage to tell these people the truth. This is going to require a bigger fix and a lot more than new windows and walls to fix. Maybe that pesky "rain tax" wasn't so stupid after all.
Corynne B. Courpas
The writer is a candidate for the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee.