Maryland’s ridiculous “rain tax” is among the reasons that the voters there rejected Gov. Martin O’Malley’s handpicked successor and elected Republican Larry Hogan. Hogan promises to get rid of the tax, but of course the state’s overwhelmingly Democrat assembly stands in his way. They’re the reason that the Free State is really the fee state.
Prince George’s County wants preachers there to get with the program anyway. It’s offering pastors in the county a deal: preach green and we’ll cut the “rain tax.”
To their everlasting and total disgrace, several pastors have accepted the county’s offer, according to the Washington Post.
The news was as welcome to the group of Prince George’s County pastors as a plague of locusts: Maryland’s controversial “stormwater remediation fee” applied to all property owners, including houses of worship. Depending on the acreage, churches faced a tax of hundreds, even thousands of dollars.
The Rev. Nathaniel B. Thomas of Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church and his colleagues figured there had to be a better way. “We challenged the fee,” Thomas said. “Once Uncle Sam finds a way to take your money, he doesn’t stop.”
After months of negotiation with county environmental director Adam Ortiz, the pastors emerged with a rebate deal that will significantly cut the fees if churches adopt programs and equipment that will curb runoff, lessen pollution and help bolster the environment.
So far, about 30 churches have applied. Forestville Redeemer was the first. They are planning to install rain barrels, build rain gardens, plant trees and, perhaps, replace their blacktop with permeable pavement. The government will cover most of the cost. In return, a fee that was estimated at $744 a year will be reduced to “virtually nothing,” Ortiz said.
Thomas and other pastors also have agreed to start “green” ministries to maintain the improvements at their churches, and to preach environmentally focused sermons to educate their congregations. (emphasis added)
So much for the so-called separation of church and state.
h/t Weasel Zippers.