Email (The next taxable item in Maryland)
Reader SMR wrote in last week in response to this post:
To the Magnificent GorTechie:
Those who strive to obtain the good graces of a robot are accustomed to come before him with such things as they hold most precious, or in which they see him take most delight; whence one often sees horses, arms, cloth of gold, precious stones, and similar ornaments presented to princes, worthy of their greatness.
Desiring therefore to present myself to your Magnificence with some testimony of my devotion towards you, I have not found among my possessions anything which I hold more dear than, or value so much as, the knowledge of stormwater regulation…
I humbly beg your pardon. I sometimes channel Nicolo Machiavelli.
While fully cognizant up front that your superior math skills obviate all objection, explanation, or caviling, I would offer some comments for your consideration and immediate dismissal. Please let me assure you that I abhor governmental overreach as completely as my limited capacity allows. Stormwater, however, is one of the very few areas where I believe governmental… shall we say… “participation” can be beneficial. I fully believe the EPA has overreached in almost every area.
You fulminate that the bulleted items in your unassailable post do not all go directly towards the EPA mandate of reducing nitrogen and phosphorous in the bay. I would offer some points of fact for consideration in addition to your perfectly justified objection to government compulsion. Videlicet:
– Build and maintain stream and wetland restoration projects – Increased wetlands, in fact, do reduce nitrogen and phosphorous levels by allowing stormwater contact with vegetation. The vegetation takes in those elements for its own use.
– Monitoring, inspection, enforcement, review of stormwater management plans and permit applications and mapping of impervious surfaces – I saw a study of a subdivision in Prince Georges County wherein the experimenters monitored outflow characteristics before and after introducing rain gardens (mini-wetlands). They saw a decrease in pollutants and stormwater volume. Monitoring allows the modification of specific areas where the greatest good can be achieved as opposed to senseless blanket efforts.
– It can also be spent on “public education and outreach” and on “grants to nonprofit organizations” – public education and outreach have been shown to slow down behaviors that have negative impacts. Also, by offering grants to nonprofits, the government has an opportunity to tax someone like you into leaving. Fewer residents in the state clearly leads to less runoff because as the roofs of abandoned houses collapse, there’s less impervious area.Your loyal reader and co-admirer of the Thirteenth Imam’s work in Tombstone,SMR
P.S. This is my first correspondence with any Gormogon because to date I could not imagine having anything to add. Please do not employ your incredible strength to kill me for my temerity in addressing you. I would hate to have my wife hear, “It would appear that the strain was more than he could bear.”
Ok, listen – you used up your allotment of twenty-five cent words in the first two paragraphs. While our readers are generally well educated, the Volgi is going to go bat-shit crazy having to explain Videlicet, fulminate, and the like.
Second, I’m not sure how to take, “Also, by offering grants to nonprofits, the government has an opportunity to tax someone like you into leaving. Fewer residents in the state clearly leads to less runoff because as the roofs of abandoned houses collapse, there’s less impervious area.” While I find the general sentiment amusing, part of me thinks that you’re encouraging GorT (and those “like me”) to leave Maryland. But maybe that was in jest. The Mandarin was starting to aim the satellite-based weapons at your location but I talked him down.
Third, and probably more on topic with your email: I’m not opposed to some government regulation and that necessitates some level of taxation. However, it has already been ruled that stormwater is not something the EPA can regulate and therefore taxing the citizens in order to pay for a mandate makes no sense. I didn’t mean to imply (and I can see how it might) that I believe that none (or no aspect) of the listed items address in the EPA mandate. In fact, I think they mostly do with the exception of the third item (public education & outreach & nonprofit grants). I am a firm opponent to the behavioral “nudge” approach of taxation. In fact, I think the better approach is one of positive reinforcement (i.e. tax rebates for energy efficient efforts).
Finally, I find this legislation to be lacking in specifics. When one digs into how the government (“they” for those of the tin foil hat community) are to assess the nonpermeable surface area in an area, it refers to satellite imagery and other geospatial tools and processes. GorT knows a little about this field and it’s not going to cut it – tree coverage, cloud coverage, etc. And I seriously doubt Maryland is going to cough up the money to get hyperspectral imagery taken for all taxable properties.
GorT is an eight-foot-tall robot from the 51ˢᵗ Century who routinely time-travels to steal expensive technology from the future and return it to the past for retroinvention. The profits from this pay all the Gormogons’ bills, including subsidizing this website. Some of the products he has introduced from the future include oven mitts, the Guinness widget, Oxy-Clean, and Dr. Pepper. Due to his immense cybernetic brain, GorT is able to produce a post in 0.023 seconds and research it in even less time. Only ’Puter spends less time on research. GorT speaks entirely in zeros and ones, but occasionally throws in a ڭ to annoy the Volgi. He is a massive proponent of science, technology, and energy development, and enjoys nothing more than taking the Czar’s more interesting scientific theories, going into the past, publishing them as his own, and then returning to take credit for them. He is the only Gormogon who is capable of doing math. Possessed of incredible strength, he understands the awesome responsibility that follows and only uses it to hurt people.