O'Malley flush tax proposal goes easy on septic owners

Gov. Martin O'Malleyis pushing legislation that would "effectively double" the Bay Restoration Fee or "flush tax," ("EPA gives mixed grades on Chesapeake Bay cleanup." Feb. 19). Senate Bill 240 raises the fee from $30 to $60 per year on septic system users. However, metered sewer customers will pay according to their usage; $1.80 for the first 2,000 gallons and $1.25 for every 1,000 gallons thereafter per month.

This will result in many Marylanders paying considerably more than double the current $30 fee. Any metered customer using more than 5,000 gallons per month (check your latest bill) will see their fees exceed and possibly far exceed the state's estimated $60 per year. A household using just 7,000 gallons of water a month will pay $96.60 per year or over 50 percent more than their neighbor on septic. And, the fee just continues to grow as usage increases.

Is this good for businesses? Is this good for cash strapped families? Most of all, is this fair, equitable and non-discriminatory? Marylanders who already pay to have their waste water treated before it re-enters the environment should not be singled out to be taxed differently than those on septic systems. If anything, homes and businesses connected to wastewater treatment facilities deserve consideration for the fees they already pay to keep the bay clean.

It's time for our legislators to reconsider Senate Bill 240 and correct this inequity.

Dick Swanson, Mount Airy

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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