ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan says he is confident Maryland's mandated "rain tax" will soon be dried up, even though a Senate committee on Tuesday rejected his bill to repeal stormwater management fees.
Hogan told reporters Tuesday that it doesn't matter to him "who gets the credit or whose name is on the bill."
"We're just happy we're actually going to repeal the rain tax," Hogan said. "I was elected mainly on this issue and the Senate president agrees with us. The bills essentially do the same thing. It's not surprising his bill is more popular than mine, cause it has his name on it instead of mine."
Hogan was talking about Sen. President Thomas V. Mike Miller's bill to end the mandatory fees.
Miller testified Tuesday on his proposed legislation before the Senate Committee on Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs, which voted down Hogan's bill 6-4 earlier in the day along with two other bills that proposed repealing the fees. Miller's bill is the only one still being considered.
"This is an appropriate resolution for what has been a very contentious issue," Miller said. "The enemy of the good is the perfect. I only hope that our environmental friends understand how important it is to move forward on this bill, how a compromise bill is so much more acceptable than the present status quo."
Currently nine counties and the city of Baltimore pay the fees that help support efforts to reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. Critics call it the "rain tax."
Miller's bill would free the counties from the mandated fees, but they would have to show they can meet federal stormwater requirements.
When the House version of Hogan's bill was voted down last week, the governor expressed confidence the General Assembly would pass a repeal of the fees. He repeated that assertion Tuesday.
"We believe it's going to pass by huge numbers in the Senate and we believe it's going to get done in the House," Hogan told news reporters. "It's hard to imagine that these legislators could ignore 70 or 80 percent of the people in the state."