The Pels Law Firm Weighs in on Amendments to the Water Quality Protection Charge

The Pels Law Firm, which is representing 25 Montgomery County property owners in litigation challenging the County’s imposition of the Water Quality Protection Charge (WQPC) upon them and/or denying statutorily-required credits against the Charge, testified at the Montgomery County Council’s public hearing on March 6 on Bill 1-18, which amends County law regarding what some call the “rain tax.”  Attorney Maria Leonard Olsen​ testified at the hearing and suggested additional changes to the WQPC in writing.

The firm’s clients oppose the rain tax as unfair, particularly in its implementation, and submitted written comments on the inequities of the law.  In addition, The Pels Law Firm opposes Bill 1-18’s transition language, which could require taxpayers to appeal their cases twice, once before the Montgomery County Board of Appeals (BOA) and then again before the Maryland Tax Court, simply because their appeals were filed and may still be pending at the time the Bill takes effect. Such a result would be inequitable, unjust and likely unconstitutional.

If Bill 1-18 passes in its current form, taxpayers will be forced to incur substantial additional time and resources litigating before the BOA and then, possibly, before the Tax Court.  County property owners should not be penalized simply for having filed their appeals before introduction of this Bill.  Moreover, taxpayer funds will be expended unnecessarily if the County attorneys are required to twice litigate the same matters.  Such consequences are likely not the Council’s legislative intent.

Join The Pels Law Firm in contacting your Council members to register your views on the rain tax.  The Council’s agenda, legislative packets and live online coverage can be accessed here: