The Chicken Tax: Maryland's New “RAIN TAX”

ANNAPOLIS - A bill introduced in the Maryland General Assembly by Sen. Richard Madaleno Jr., and Delegate Shane Robinson, both Democrats from Montgomery County, proposes a five-cents per chicken tax on farmers to offset costs to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.  Madaleno issued a statement calling on the need for major polluters of the Bay to “pay their fair share” of the clean up.

Chicken Tax

According to an online article published by, Food & Water Watch has emailed Maryland supporters to call their representatives in Annapolis and advocate support for the bill. Food & Water Watch is an advocacy group that has frequently partnered with to promote environmental issues.

Statement by Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate, Charles Lollar:

It seems the only way they know how to solve a problem in Annapolis is to throw another tax at it and hope it disappears. Now, they’re trying to use the “Chicken Tax” to over-regulate Maryland farmers out of existence.

The “Chicken Tax” is another “Rain Tax” moment in Maryland history. Farmers in Maryland should be outraged. Agriculture is the number one economic industry in Maryland. It accounts for $2.3 billion in gross receipts to the economy annually and generates approximately 46,000 jobs. More than half of these jobs are on the Eastern Shore. Why are legislators willing to risk all that?

We need a balanced approach to solving environmental issues in Maryland. Keeping the Bay clean is a regional problem that involves more than controlling agricultural run off from Maryland farms. Sediment from adjacent states, like Pennsylvania, contribute to the pollution. Leadership in Annapolis needs to craft a regional solution to this problem that requires all states that pollute the Bay to “pay their fair share” to keep it clean. We must not allow legislators in Annapolis to “hurt Maryland first” by bankrupting hard-working farmers with a “Chicken Tax” and putting the future of Maryland’s number one economic industry at risk.

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