Behind the Poll

Washington DC suburb eyes taxing residents for rain on their roofs, driveways, parking lots 

A rain tax is the last thing strapped taxpayers need now, Americans for Tax Reform argues. “For residents struggling with rising inflation, and small businesses battling a historic shortage of labor, a Rain Tax will only make life more difficult in the City of Fairfax,” wrote Dennis Hull on the organization’s website Friday. “Lawmakers should look to surplus General Fund revenue or existing real estate tax funds to support stormwater management programs, as they have done for years, rather than impose a new burdensome tax on families and businesses.” 

The city council is set to vote on the rain tax Dec. 14. Critics warn Councilmembers may not be in their positions much longer if they vote for the rain tax. 

A similar tax structure was imposed in Maryland in 2013, but the tax wasn’t uniform, and by 2014 state residents identified it as one of the most oppressive of the 40 new taxes that then-Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, had signed into law since taking office in 2007. 

The rain tax was “one of, if not the most, unpopular taxes in Maryland,” according to the National Federation of Independent Business. After it passed, one NFIB member was saddled with a $5,000 rain tax in one year, the association said.

By 2014, Maryland residents were fed up, and overwhelmingly elected a new Republican governor, incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan. In 2015, the Legislature voted — with only one dissenting vote! — to repeal the mandatory rain tax two years after it was implemented.
Bethany Blankley