Most Marylanders will see their flush tax bill double from $30 to $60 beginning July 1, but the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund will remain vulnerable to raids that have climbed to $290 million since 2010.
The Senate approved the fee increase in 28-18 vote late Saturday, with an amendment that exempts residents far western Maryland and the Ocean City area that are not part of the Chesapeake Bay drainage area.
As the lid closes on the 2012 legislative session, lawmakers will likely double the flush tax from $30 to $60 to cover a projected $385 million shortfall in the Bay Restoration Fund, but some lawmakers say the tax hike aims to cover repeated raids on the fund that triggered a downgrade by Moody’s Investor Service 14 months ago.
Joel McCord of WYPR, Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com and Bryan Sears of Patch.com discuss the prospects for Gov. Martin O’Malley’s ambitious legislative program — same-sex marriage, gas tax, income tax, flush tax, Internet tax
Many homes on public water and sewer in Maryland could see their flush tax triple to over $100 a year for the Bay Restoration Fund — much higher than homes on septic systems, which would see the fee double to a $60 cap under Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposed consumption-based tax.
Environment Secretary Robert Summers told Eastern Shore lawmakers the Bay Restoration Fund needs an additional $385 million to upgrade 67 sewage treatment plants in Maryland and echoed Gov. Martin O’Malley’s call to double the flush tax to $60 a year.
A new poll found that 62% of rural respondents favored tighter regulations on septic systems, and 57% favored “limiting the number of septic systems in rural areas. ”The poll of 801 registered voters by Opinion Works in mid-December found statewide support was 72% for tighter septic regulations, and 69% for limiting the number septic systems in the state.
About 450,000 Maryland households that earn more than $100,000 per year will see their state and local income taxes go up next year if the legislature approves Gov. Martin O’Malley’s budget proposal. In order to balance an overall $35.8 billion state budget – a 3% increase over last year – O’Malley is asking to cap tax deductions and phase out exemptions for high earners. O’Malley said the average family of four making $150,000 a year would pay $191 more in state and local income taxes.
Doubling the flush tax to $60 a year is one of the revenue increases Gov. Martin O’Malley proposed Wednesday in his fiscal 2013 budget. Revenue from the tax goes into the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund to upgrade sewage treatment plants. Money from septic system users is also used to upgrade some of those systems and pay for cover crops. The new money is needed because the upgrades have cost more than originally estimated.