Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said he will veto the Poultry Fair Share Act if it passes the General Assembly of Maryland. The proposed legislation, introduced in the General Assembly of Maryland on February 4, would place a tax of 5 cents per chicken on poultry companies operating in that state.

Under the proposed bill, the money generated from the tax would go toward efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. An estimated $15 in taxes would be levied annually.

O'Malley said at the Taste of Maryland dinner on February 6 that he did not think the Poultry Fair Share Act was fair at all, and the bill could have dire consequences on a leading industry in the state.

"The truth of the matter is, we're all one Maryland. We're all in this together, and we cannot survive as a state unless agriculture is profitable in our state," O'Malley said. "I will tell you this, read my lips: If that chicken bill passes, I will veto it."

Delegate Shane Robinson, D-Montgomery, is the Maryland chicken tax bill's primary sponsor. According to reports, Montgomery filed to withdraw the bill after hearing O'Malley so emphatically opposed it.

The bill was heavily supported by environmental group Food & Water Watch, but was strongly opposed by agriculture groups including Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc.