Maryland residents will now have more reason to feel gloomy on a rainy day. It means they'll have to pay.
Starting this summer, property owners in certain counties will be charged storm management fees, which critics are calling a "rain tax." The revenue will help the state meet an order by the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the Chesapeake Bay estuary by 2017.
The fee will be based on the size of the building and surrounding paved surfaces. That's because roofs, driveways and carparks create more potential for drainage problems and water contamination.
Lawmakers passed the measure in 2012, but an attempt to delay the start of the fees for two years recently failed in the state legislature. Critics argued that the tax is an unreasonable burden to residents.
"We need to save the planet," state Sen. Delores Kelley, a Democrat who opposed the measure, told the Maryland Reporter. "But people can only do so much at one time."