Expedited Bill No.         29-10               

Concerning:      Taxes- Excise Tax – Carbon Dioxide Emissions  

Revised:    5-18-10            Draft No. 5  

Introduced:      April 27, 2010                

Enacted:         May 19, 2010                 

Executive:       May 29, 2010                 

Effective:        May 29, 2010                 

Sunset Date:  None                             

Ch.   20    , Laws of Mont. Co.    2010    


County Council

For Montgomery County, Maryland


By: Councilmembers Berliner, Leventhal, Elrich, Andrews and Trachtenberg



(1)        establish a reliable funding source for greenhouse gas reduction programs in the form of an excise tax on major emitters of carbon dioxide;

(2)        set the rate of the tax and authorize the County Council to increase or decrease the rate each year by resolution;

(3)        define certain terms, and authorize the County Executive to issue certain regulations;

(4)        provide for collection of the tax and payment of interest and penalties, set the effective date of the tax, and apply certain provisions of law to this tax;

(5)        require part of the revenue from this tax to be used for certain greenhouse gas reduction programs; and

(6)        generally amend the County laws governing excise taxation.



By adding

            Montgomery County Code

            Chapter 52, Taxation

            Article XIII, Excise Tax on Major Emitters of Carbon Dioxide

            Sections 52-95 through 52-99



Boldface                                             Heading or defined term.

Underlining                                          Added to existing law by original bill.

[Single boldface brackets]                  Deleted from existing law by original bill.

Double underlining                              Added by amendment.

[[Double boldface brackets]]              Deleted from existing law or the bill by amendment.

*   *   *                                                  Existing law unaffected by bill.










The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland approves the following Act:

          Sec. 1. Chapter 52 is amended by adding Article XIII, Excise Tax on Major Emitters of Carbon Dioxide:

Article XIII.  Excise Tax on Major Emitters of Carbon Dioxide.

52-95.                   Findings.

          The County Council finds that:

(a)     In December, 2009 the US Environmental Protection Agency found that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere endanger both the public health and the environment for current and future generations.

(b)     Montgomery County has embraced an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and has begun to engage in programmatic efforts to reduce these emissions.  These efforts constitute a significant investment by the County and its constituents and cover both stationary sources (County owned and otherwise) and mobile sources.

(c)      It is appropriate that the largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the County contribute to paying for these greenhouse gas reduction programs.

52-96.                   Tax levied; rates.

(a)     Any major emitter of carbon dioxide, as defined in subsection (b), must file a tax return and pay an excise tax each year on the privilege of emitting carbon dioxide into the County airshed.

(b)     A major emitter of carbon dioxide is any person who owns or operates any stationary source of carbon dioxide located in the County that emits more than 1 million tons of carbon dioxide in any calendar year.

(c)      The rate of the tax established under subsection (a) is $5 per ton of carbon dioxide emitted.

(d)     The County Council by resolution, after a public hearing advertised under Section 52-17(c), may increase or decrease the rate set in subsection (c).

(e)      As used in this Article:

(1)     Ton, when applies to carbon dioxide in gaseous form, means the amount of gas in cubic feet which is the equivalent of 2000 pounds on a molecular weight basis.

(2)     Director means the Director of Finance.

(3)     Person includes any individual, business, corporation, association, firm, partnership, group of individuals acting as a unit, trustee, receiver, assignee, or personal representative.

(f)      By regulations issued under method (2) that are consistent with this Article, the County Executive may further specify the administration of this tax.  These regulations must identify the source of verifiable and measurable emissions data, which must be a federal or state air pollution control agency, on which the Director must base the amount of tax due

52-97.         Credit.

(a)     The Director must allow a credit against any tax due in an amount that reflects the proportionate reduction in carbon dioxide emitted from any source in the County if that reduction is attributable to any County greenhouse gas reduction program funded by revenue from this tax that is allocated under Section 52-100, compared to the amount of carbon dioxide emitted in the previous calendar year by each major emitter of carbon dioxide.

(b)     The Executive by regulation must further define which reductions in emissions are considered in calculating this credit and how those reductions are measured.

[[52-97]] 52-98.    Due date.

(a)     The tax levied under Section 52-96 is due and payable for each month on the last day of the next month.  Each person subject to this tax must file a report each month on a form supplied by the Director.

(b)     The Director may establish an alternative payment system.  If an alternative payment system is established, the Director must require a pro-rated payment for any taxable period that ends before the system takes effect.

[[52-98]] 52-99.    Collection; interest and penalties; violation; lien.

(a)     If any person does not pay the Director the tax due under Section 52-96, that person is liable for:

(1)     interest on the unpaid tax at the rate of one percent per month for each month or part of a month after the tax is due; and

(2)     a penalty of 5 percent of the amount of the tax per month or part of a month after the tax is due, not to exceed 25 percent of the tax.

                   The Director must collect any interest and penalty as part of the tax.

(b)     If any person does not file a report or pay the tax when due, the Director must obtain information on which to calculate the tax due and may estimate the tax due based on the previous month’s tax or any other reasonable basis.  As soon as the Director obtains sufficient information on which to calculate any tax due, the Director must assess the tax and penalties against the person.  The Director must notify the person of the total amount of the tax, interest, and penalties by mail sent to the person's last known address.  This notice is prima facie evidence of the tax due; entitles the County to judgment for the amount of the tax, penalty, and interest listed in the notice; and gives the taxpayer the burden of proving that the tax has been paid or any other sufficient defense to the action.  The total amount due must be paid within 10 days after the date of the notice.

(c)      Every person liable for any tax under Section 52-96 must preserve for 3 years suitable records necessary to determine the amount of the tax.  The Director may inspect and audit the records at any reasonable time.

(d)     Any failure to pay the tax when due under Section 52-97, and any violation of Section 52-97 or this Section, is a Class A violation.  Each violation is a separate offense.  A conviction under this subsection does not relieve any person from paying the tax.

(e)      Section 52-18D applies to this tax.

[[52-99]] 52-100.  Allocation of Revenue.

          Of the revenue from the tax levied under Section 52-96, 50% must be reserved for and allocated in the annual operating budget to funding for County greenhouse gas reduction programs, including mass transit.

          Sec. 2.         Expedited Effective Date.

          The Council declares that this Act is necessary for the immediate protection of the public interest.  This Act takes effect on the date when it becomes law.

          Sec. 3.         Revenue Allocation Suspended.

          Notwithstanding County Code Section 52-100, as enacted by Section 1 of this Act, the revenue received from the tax levied under County Code Section 52-96 in the first full fiscal year the tax collected must be held in a special reserve account.