Rein Them In

When a state starts taxing you for rain, you know the country has jumped the shark. Sanity has been washed away in Maryland which instituted this ridiculous way to take more money from its citizens.

How does it work? Well, first they don’t call it a rain tax. No, that would show the absurdity of it. Instead, as in all totalitarian governments, language has been twisted. They call it a storm management fee. Does that make you feel better? A little less like you’re a passenger sitting on the deck of the U.S.S. Ship of Fools?

It’s still a rain tax. How did we get here? Courtesy of our tax obsessed president, Barack Obama. The Maryland Gazette explains,

In 2010 the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency ordered Maryland to reduce stormwater runoff into the Chesapeake Bay so that nitrogen levels fall 22 percent and phosphorus falls 15 percent from current amounts. The price tag: $14.8 billion.

And where do we get the $14.8 billion? By taxing so-called “impervious surfaces,” anything that prevents rain water from seeping into the earth (roofs, driveways, patios, sidewalks, etc.) thereby causing stormwater run off. In other words, a rain tax.

The EPA ordered Maryland to raise the money (an unfunded mandate), Maryland ordered its 10 largest counties to raise the money (another unfunded mandate) and, now, each of those counties is putting a local rain tax in place by July 1.

So how do they calculate it? They do that by figuring out the surface area of properties like roofs, driveways and carparks where there is more chance of run off. The Gazette says ““Thanks to satellite imagery and geographic information systems, Big Brother can measure your roof and driveway (and you thought drones were only used for killing terrorists).”

No wonder Obama loves his drones so much.

Of course, a storm management fee can be allocated rather broadly. The state likes you to believe that it will be used to maintain stream and wetland restoration projects, for public education and outreach. The state also says it will go to “monitoring, inspection, enforcement, review of stormwater management plans and permit applications and mapping of impervious surfaces.”

Realists see this as a way to hire more bureaucrats to administer the program, reward environmental pals and supporters and get more voters dependent on Democrats for jobs.

When it comes to taxation, the Democrats flood the issue with their ingenuity. Too bad it can’t be directed to something that actually helps Americans.

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