Chesapeake Bay Cleanup to Cost Marylanders $9,750 per Household
BALTIMORE, April 14--A report released today by Sage Policy Group explains why Maryland's plan to comply with new federal regulations designed to clean up the Chesapeake Bay would shrink the state's economy by $10 billion, result in the loss of 65,000 jobs and cost the state, taxpayers and consumers more than $11 billion by 2017 -- making the overall cost to Marylanders $21 billion, or $9,750 per household.
The Sage Group study, "The Impact of the Phase I Watershed Implementation Plan on Key Maryland Industries" was commissioned by the Maryland State Builders Association, which represents the state's home builders, remodelers, suppliers and contractors.
"Clearly the findings of this report are cause for concern," said Steve Seawright, the builders association president. "We believe the focus of Bay cleanup should center on the leading causes of pollution and the most economically beneficial reduction measures that can be put in place now with the limited resources available," he said.
At a time when our state and nation are struggling to emerge from a significant recession and resulting high unemployment, moving forward with such an expensive plan will be devastating, with $2.8 billion in lost wages and income - and worse yet, the plan does not focus on the worst polluters."
Above and beyond the efficacy of the current state plan, the new mandates go further than those of neighboring states, thus placing Maryland at a competitive disadvantage as it relates to economic growth, job creation and the overall financial impact on residents.
"From a public policy perspective, this suggests that Maryland's implementation program should strive to retain at least the current level of economic development competitiveness vis-à-vis Virginia and other Mid-Atlantic states," the report said. "In other words, Maryland's contributions to Bay restoration should be commensurate with the contributions of other states, thereby allowing Maryland's industries to continue to effectively compete."
From a practical standpoint, it is unclear how the plan's $11 billion price tag will be paid for given the current budgetary limitations on the state and localities, which face substantial cuts and growing liabilities this year and forecast over the next two years.
While some costs will be passed onto consumers and industries, Maryland and its counties would incur dramatic increased costs for compliance over the plan's first five years.
"The Maryland State Builders Association certainly supports efforts to strengthen the health of the Bay, as every Marylander would. We, however, believe that those efforts should be undertaken within the confines of affordability and in way that keeps Maryland competitive economically," Seawright said.
Click Here to download the Sage Economic Report