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Higher tax in Maryland can be blamed on the rain

Sunday - 4/14/2013, 8:20am  ET

WASHINGTON - Rain has a price. A last ditch attempt to delay a new stormwater fee failed this week and now Maryland residents could get an unexpected bill this summer.

When rain falls, pollutants get flushed into the Chesapeake Bay and because of that the fees will go into effect - a move critics are slamming as a "rain tax."

The Watershed Protection and Restoration Program was signed into law in April 2012. It established "a system of stormwater remediation fees and a local watershed protection and restoration fund," according to the Maryland Department of Environment's Water Management Administration.

Residents in Montgomery, Prince George's and Charles counties already pay a similar fee but it will soon apply to residents and businesses in all of Maryland's 10 largest jurisdictions:

  • Anne Arundel County
  • Baltimore City
  • Baltimore County
  • Carroll County
  • Charles County
  • Frederick County
  • Harford County
  • Howard County
  • Montgomery County
  • Prince George's County

President Walt Townsend of the Baltimore Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce says the tax is "most problematic" and that many "don't realize the fee is coming."

The impact upon businesses, nonprofits and homeowners associations could be major. Townsend says some businesses could face fees in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Residents could face a fee anywhere between $10 to $200. And whether you call it a tax or a fee, it goes into effect July 1, 2013.

WTOP's John Aaron contributed to this report. Follow John and WTOP on Twitter.

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