General Assembly approves stormwater fee for nine counties

By Justin Snow

Senate Republican Leader E.j. Pipkin

Senate Republican Leader EJ. Pipkin

Despite a Republican filibuster attempt in the Senate, the General Assembly successfully passed legislation that would implement a stormwater pollution fee to raise revenue to cleanup the Chesapeake Bay.

Approved by the Senate and House of Delegates minutes before the end of the legislative session, the bill, HB987,  requires nine counties and Baltimore City to establish a watershed protection and restoration program.

Local governments would charge property owners a fee based on the amount of pavement on their property. It would be at the jurisdiction of the local governments to determine the size of those fees.

Counties and municipalities would take various steps, such as planting trees, to reduce watershed pollution caused by stormwater runoff.

Sponsored by Del. Tom Hucker, D-Montgomery, survival of the bill was questionable as it became bogged down in the Senate on Monday. Debate on the bill was delayed several times as the Senate considered various conference committee reports on the budget package.

Pipkin offers dozen amendments

Republicans, who have labeled the bill a $6 billion tax on counties based on the projected funding needed over 13 years, launched prolonged debate of the bill by proposing a number of unfriendly amendments.

Senate Republican Leader E.J. Pipkin proposed 12 amendments, none of which were adopted. Pipkin said the bill was essentially an attempt to tax rain water.

Sen. Paul Pinsky, D-Prince George’s, argued Republicans should like the bill, noting it gave power back to the counties to determine the fee and held them responsible for pollution caused at the local level.

Democrats broke the filibuster by approving a motion to limit floor debate to 20 minutes per side. The chamber approved the bill 33-14 to applause from the gallery, which was quickly stifled by Senate President Mike Miller who was eager to move onto other issues on the agenda.

Although Republicans were unsuccessful in their attempts to amend the bill, an amendment proposed by Sen. Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery, was adopted by the Senate. Raskin’s amendment excluded properties owned by state or local governments and volunteer fire departments from being subject to the fee. Raskin argued the amendment was part of the “public-private principal” and that it did not make sense for the government to tax itself.

With only 20 minutes remaining before adjournment, the amended bill was sent to the House, which approved the legislation 91-45. Gov. Martin O’Malley is expected to sign the legislation into law.

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.


  1. Bilderberg CEO

    Now that the government is in charge, you can expect pollution in the Chesapeake Bay to quadruple annually.

  2. bgeorge

    Stop crying and tear up your driveway… You’re welcome.

  3. randyrocker

    Taxation of rain and California residents signing away their rights by trying to get rid of the First Amendment, means that there’s definitely something wrong with not only the politicians but the American sheeple too. The US is entering into very dangerous waters.

  4. Gary

    Bred and born here. When I retire Im out of here. OMalley is out of his mind and we are to for letting them do this to us. Most liberal place of the 50 states. Alot of BULL..

  5. Richard Bahr

    Charge the idiots that voted this in a tax for taking a piss in the toilet. What in the Hell are leaders doing to this country this is not what they were voted in for. It is time to start throwing these bums from the white house on down onto the unemployment lines before they kill this country.

  6. cristo52

    All hail Chickenshit O’Malley.

  7. lenlazarick

    People have been asking for the counties in HB987, 2012 session: Anne
    Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Harford,
    Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties and Baltimore City. Len Lazarick, Editor and Publisher

  8. GETIT?


    • ConstituentOfClowns

      Read the bill. It tells you

  9. Newfiedog

    And Marty wants to the President…

    • sosickofthedems

      If the majority were stupid enough to vote Obama in, not once but twice, they might just be willing to drink the O’malley juice too! So sad for the rest of us.

  10. dantes44

    How the hell can anyone vote for leftists? (in no way saying the right is much better, but come on!)

  11. Loudoun

    Are you in Maryland? Use WriteMyRep at Electorate.Me to write your Governor, Senator, and Delegate to let them know what you think about this and choose the option to post your letter publicly so we can all see it!

  12. TeamAmerica

    I can’t find a list of the nine counties, although I suspect Liberal Heaven Montgomery County (where I live) is one of them. Anyone here know the counties in question?

    • lenlazarick

      People have been asking for the counties in HB987, 2012 session: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Harford,
      Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties and Baltimore City. Len Lazarick, Editor and Publisher,

  13. repm

    Just another nail in the coffin!

    I live in Frederick…but not for long! And I’m sure many will be right behind me!

    Idaho or bust!

  14. MDcon

    Perhaps the money would be better spent on building roads?

    • William556

      How about fixing existing roads, repairing water and sewer lines, etc.

  15. PeacefulLiberalLady

    Gosh, glad I’m not in Maryland. what’s next Sunshine tax?

    • William556

      Don’t give them ideas. They might decide that paved parking lots and black-shingled roofs are contributing to the “heat island” effect, if not global warming, and impose a green tax on such things.

  16. Wally Hyatt Namer

    Remember, come 2014 EVERYONE that is IN is OUT!!! We need more than NEW blood but it is a start!

  17. JoanieBaloney

    Dims –

    Hillary Clinton told the Pakistanis on 1030/2009 that the Democrats tax everything that moves.

    “The percentage of taxes on GDP (in Pakistan) is among the lowest in the world… We (the United States) tax everything that moves and doesn’t move, and that’s not what we see in Pakistan,” she said.

    I guess that includes rain since it moves. Democrat voters are getting what they voted for so stop your whining. Next time, remember your votes does matter.

  18. Marcia Ricker

    Usually property’s owned by State and Local Government have the largest areas of asphalt to accommodate the public and keep them brand new condition by resurfacing often, which is what is being considered a problem concerning to much pollution to the watershed. The way I see it, if the concern is so great that the need to inflict more taxes upon the counties involved in this contribution of pollution, then everyone with no exceptions should be included in the extra tax. I believe this was voted for to quickly to take one more issue off the table, it should not have come into play, and taxing the Government locals makes perfect sense, especially if they are part of the problem. As far as money is concerned, no amount of money will change the run off. When it rains it pours. You cannot and will not ever change this fact. And furthermore, I personally do not believe there will be much change no matter how much money you take from these hard working individuals. The problem will still remain the same and you will only will have accomplished hurting your own people in this Great State, one of our own in this Great Union of The United States of America. United we stand Divided we fall.. Please rethink this absurd idea, and brainstorm for another solution.

    • PennyRobinsonFanClub

      I would think any 20 foot stretch of paved road would be a bigger concern than the sidewalk around any house.

  19. concernedmomoftwo

    This is a new low, even for liberals. What’s next – how much air you breathe, how much gas you pass, how much sex you have. They really will tax ANYHTING won’t they. But they sure as heck won’t STOP spending OUR money!!!!

  20. mdoc

    how do we figure out who voted yes or no? I’d like to know how my elected officials voted so I can decide if I will vote for them again or not…

    • lenlazarick

      No easy way. The story links to legislation summary on legislative website. From there click on “History” and shows you progress of the bill Anywhere there is a tally, such as 101-36, 35-12, click on the tally number and it will show you the vote. There are often multiple votes.

    • JoanieBaloney

      Call him or her and ask their staff which way they are voting or how they voted. This is also your time to let your representative know your views on the subject.

  21. monkeypox69

    Liberals really will tax anything!

    • Phil Hoey

      Next is air – we exhale CO2 which causes global warming.

      • PennyRobinsonFanClub

        I bet you think you’re kidding . . .

    • Sosickofthedems

      Except themselves!

    • Bilderberg CEO

      Only because you let them.

  22. Caspiansails

    What a bunch of bunk.  I live in Frederick County which is largely rural and agricultural.  The “paved” footprint on my property is less than 1% of the total size of the property which is surrounded by farm fields and a culvert that runs along the low side of the property through a storm drain into a runoff pond on the other side which is also part of a field of cows.  I would really like to know how that water, which goes into the ground and replenishes the local water aquafier, needs additional trees to prevent it from going to the Bay.  I think Senator Pipkin hit the nail on the head with this one.  It is worse than the so called flush tax.  We all know the largest polluters of the Bay are the localities which surround the Bay and have historically dumped everything in the Bay.  Of course we cannot have those cities pay for the bulk of the cleanup – that would just be too fair.  It seems to me and many others this is just an excuse to raise revenue which most likely will not find its way to where the Democrats that control Annapolis say it will.  Same as any other tax or fee that is being raised this year.  This will shortly be followed by the Special Taxation Session that will continue to siphon off any money a Maryland resident has left.  I think I hear West Virginia or Virginia calling me.

    • Josh

      Caspiansails- I grew up my entire life in Montgomery County- great place then liberals destroyed the state and continue doing so. I currently reside just over the West Virginia Border in Harpers Ferry, WV. Great place, low taxes, more freedom, and great people. Although the commute is where you lose depending on your job- West Virginia would welcome you and any other Marylander with open arms. You should consider it.


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