Letter to the editor: Tax on rain?
To the editor:
Just when I thought everything that could be taxed was taxed, the Legislature is contemplating
taxing rain. In fairness, it's not actually the rain that is being taxed. They are taxing the sediment
that might occur when it rains. But the only time sediment is moved by water is when it rains,
because water runs downhill. That is why it is "affectionately" called the "rain tax" by affected
Under existing drainage law, those who benefit from a drainage ditch paid taxes for the benefit
of using the ditch. It is the same principle of paying fuel taxes for good roads. If you want to
drive on good roads, you pay taxes for that benefit.
But the new "rain tax" is based on a different plan. Suppose you are an avid bike rider or just like
to walk and don't own a car. Since there is a "potential" you might someday own a car and drive
on a road, you would still have to pay fuel tax even though you don't buy fuel. That's how the
new "rain tax" works.
Currently, those who are not benefited from using a drainage ditch do not have to pay taxes on it.
Under the new Relative Sediment Delivery Option (RSDO) or "rain tax," any land that has the
mere potential for some sediment to possibly make it to any particular drainage ditch will be
taxed by those drainage ditches. Since this is not how current drainage law is set up, where do
they get their information? From a computer model.
There are some other scary items with this bill. With the "rain tax" how much sediment is too
much? The bill doesn't say. There is also no limit on how far away any of the land is from the
drainage ditch. It could be miles from the ditch. RSDO is completely open-ended and vague.
The real taxation will be filled in later by faceless, unelectable, unaccountable state agencies not
RSDO is being peddled as merely an option to existing drainage law. However, existing ditch
law is being rewritten and erased in order to make RSDO work. Current ditch law will no longer
exist in its original form.
Call Representatives Steve Green at 651-296- 9918 and Jim Newberger at 651-296- 2451. Ask
them to stop HF 3836. Call Sen. Bill Weber at 651-296- 5650 and Sen. Bill Ingebrigsten at
651-297- 8063. Ask them to stop SF 3410. (The bills are identical.) Tell them to stick with
existing ditch law and not a rain tax based on a computer model.