Polls exaggerate the depth of public support for raising the flush tax

Your editorial about the proposed Maryland flush tax failed to mention a number of facts ("The flush tax blues," Jan. 27). For one, the upgrade of the treatment plants was originally budgeted at $550 million by the Glendening administration. It's easy to pass on the financial responsibility for a bill to your successor.

What about the farms? According to the Chesapeake Bay Program, agriculture is responsible for 40.9 percent of the nitrogen and 46.5 percent of the phosphorus released into the Chesapeake Bay. Nothing is being done about this.

Do not let the agricultural community fool you. Drive by a development site versus a farm. There are no sediment control practices on farms, whereas silt fences, sediment basins and other practices are all being used in new development sites.

Your editorial mentioned two recent polls taken by environmental groups stating that people were willing to pay higher taxes to clean up the bay. Read between the lines: What the polls really are saying is that residents are willing for someone else to pay for the cleanup.

The polls show that people on public water and sewer lines support people on private well and septic systems paying more to clean up the bay.

There would not be the number of houses on private well and septic systems if the state, particularly MDE, were willing to allow cities and towns in rural counties to upgrade their public water and sewer systems. But Maryland's lawmakers have made it almost impossible to do that.

Richard B. Williams

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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