Governor Larry Hogan has been facing the difficult task of pushing his legislation through a majority-Democratic Maryland General Assembly. Ever since his upsetting win in the November 2014 election, the Maryland Democrats have not been pleased with his conservative goals and business-based ideologies.
The Rain Tax, one such policy, was initially set up by former Governor Martin O’Malley to improve the conditions of the Chesapeake Watershed by putting a tax on real estate owners for storm water runoff. However, Republicans and Democrats alike have agreed on its ineffectiveness and unnecessary burden on real estate owners.
Recently, Governor Hogan has attempted to repeal the controversial Rain Tax. However, the House Environment and Transportation Committee and the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee both voted against him and thus, Hogan’s movement was killed.
Shortly afterward, Maryland State Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) introduced another piece of legislation that stopped short of repealing the Rain Tax. Miller’s bill would remove the requirements for counties to collect the fee but would mandate counties to send the state a report on their environmental clean up progress. The Maryland Senate passed the bill unanimously on Mar. 20.
Many believe Hogan’s failure to repeal the tax was not because of the intent of his efforts, but rather the deep tensions between Hogan’s office and the General Assembly.
Brent Jamsa, a freshman from Quince Orchard High School said, “The defeat of Governor Hogan’s version of the rain tax repeal only shows that the General Assembly is not interested in passing anything that may be associated with Governor Hogan. This shows only what is in store for the Governor’s other legislative priorities.”
Although some say this incident illustrates the discomfort between the General Assembly and Hogan, others say it demonstrates the General Assembly’s gradual efforts to work with Hogan.
Prim Phoolsombat, the Legislative Affairs Director of the Montgomery County Regional Student Government (MCR-SGA), said, “Governor Hogan’s initiatives in the Maryland General Assembly seem to be incredibly unpopular. As such, most Maryland lawmakers, who are Democrats, have to walk the fine line between working cooperatively with the Governor on bipartisan initiatives, while also staying unaffiliated from some of his more unsupported policies. I think the General Assembly is in an awkward, perhaps transition phase currently, where new priorities are being set and the political atmosphere has changed. Miller’s bill is just a demonstration of cautious behavior by the General Assembly, to support the same bipartisan initiative but not specifically under Governor Hogan.”
Article by MoCo Student staff writer Omisa Jinsi of Churchill High School