Thursday, October 25, 2007

Marylanders Thinking Green?

Who wants to help support the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries?

A new poll suggests most people in Maryland do. Better than four in five of the 500 residents polled on behalf of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation said making the nation’s largest estuary cleaner should be a state funding priority, the group announced Thursday.

The results come as the foundation pushes for a new fee on hard surfaces to support a “green fund” to the tune of around $85 million per year. The money would help the state meet commitments it made with other states in the watershed to reduce pollution by 2010.

But it may be tougher to get businesses and large property owners to pay 1 cent per square foot of hard surfaces. Those who own big houses (more than 3,000 square feet) in the state would pay $40 per year into the green fund, while a warehouse owner could pay up to $5,500 per year.

One side says this is fairer than previous green fund plans that would tax new construction — and say the bay needs the money.

Others say it’s still to costly, especially for folks like food retailers — given other taxes that are on the table right now. What do you think?

-ANDY ROSEN, Business Writer

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