delware environmental institute

News Journal: Markell seeks new tax to improve water

Gov. Jack Markell on Tuesday proposed an $800 million program to clean Delaware waterways, curb stormwater runoff and flooding, and protect drinking water, suggesting a statewide tax that would cost most homeowners $45 a year, and more borrowing to pay for the effort.

"Somebody has to do this," Markell said. "We have a fundamental responsibility, I believe, to leave the next generation cleaner water – water you can fish in, water you can swim in, not as many problems with drinking water, not as many problems with stormwater and all that flooding. ... It's just not acceptable and it's embarrassing."

The governor's plan relies on the new tax charged to property owners, which would generate $30 million annually, and a $60 million each year in new state borrowing or state-assisted loans by others. That money would be added to the current $30 million set aside for state water projects.