By Mike Hellgren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — If you think gas prices are bad now, wait to see what happens if lawmakers sign off on a gas tax increase.  There’s already stiff opposition to the plan.

Mike Hellgren breaks down the views from both sides.

The money raised would cover about a third of the massive $1.6 billion budget gap, but opponents say it’s just sticking it to the little guy who can least afford it.

Truckers swarmed Annapolis with a message for politicians, outraged at several proposals to raise the gas tax just as unrest in the Middle East has caused prices to skyrocket.

“We’ve had enough!  We just can’t afford it,” said one trucker.

Marylanders pay 23.5 cents a gallon.  One bill would up the tax 12 more cents; the money would go to fix roads.

“Well, we’re hoping that the bill will raise somewhere around $500 million a year.  The gas tax hasn’t been raised since 1992,” said Delegate Bill Frick.

It has high-profile support from Baltimore’s mayor and several county executives, who have seen transportation budgets slashed.

“The fact is, roads throughout the state of Maryland are deteriorating and are going to deteriorate a lot more if we don’t act,” said Howard County State Executive Ken Ulman.

“We want to say to our elected officials, stop robbing the transportation trust fund to balance your budget,” said trucking company manager Mel Fair.

“We can no longer afford to do this without stretching or breaking,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Maryland’s gas tax is the same as D.C.’s, more than Virginia’s but less than neighboring West Virginia and Pennsylvania.  The proposed increase would make our state’s tax the highest in the region, which is why it’s generating so much outrage.

“We’re tired of paying for everything else,” said a trucker.

“I am definitely sympathetic to the cost imposed, not just to truckers but on all of us that pay at the pump,” said Frick.

The tax could go into effect as early as July.  Backers want it dedicated solely to transportation.

Comments (38)
  1. kennyG says:

    Martin & his cohorts think this is not a problem especially when we the taxpayers pay for all the politicians gas.

    1. heidi says:

      and their housing and living expenses. What about us who they tax like crazy and who are struggling just to keep the roofs over our family’s head and food on the table.

      1. Denise says:

        If it cost more for truckers to bring our goods to us then all of our goods will cost a lot more. It is highway robbery at it’s best. It always trickles down to us, the consumers.

      2. Thank you Denise says:

        @Denise – Best post! Raising taxes make the prices of goods go up! The extra cost is always passed on the consumer.

    2. driver says:

      In North Carolina we have one of the highest gas tax on the East coast. The tax is supposed to be dedicated to road repair but our greedy politicians use that fund as a personal pet project piggy bank. We have some of the worst roads and the worst politicians.

  2. Ken Smallwood says:

    Are yo you crazy you let BGE rape and pillage us with high prices now the gas company are doing the same and now you want us to pay morewith a tax tacked onto itt you all better think twice if you want get elected again. Do something for the people of Maryland for a change

  3. Steve says:

    I gave up my car when the chrisis hit, the state tried to fine me for no Insurance, now they are losing lots of income, 2 years so far, how much more do they want to lose? I plan on getting a vehicle in the future, when im out of Maryland!!!!! That little fine wasnt really worth it now was it? Raising costs for motorist in any way, taxes, registration, all these things will cost the state more than they will gain!

  4. Somebody says:

    They say we the people have a right to vote and a say so. The past few decades it has not been the case. With the cost steadly rising I forsee a modern revoloutionary war brewing again. I personally think people who are in office at a state level should live in the districts they represent and should continue to do so and should make annualy what the general income for that area is. This will change there views of greed and actually do something for the people.

  5. overtaxed says:

    The tax rate has been frozen for 2 decades and counties have less money to work with – but they fail to mention that the transportation funds have been STOLEN and put into the general fund. Why isn’t Mike Hellgren investigating??? WJZ??? ANYONE?? The answer is no one will because WJZ and Baltimore media will not do anything to damage the Democratic Party, even when they are stealing us blind.

    1. Alex Zorach says:

      I don’t think it’s a simple as placing the blame on one party or another. Part of the reason the tax has been frozen is that it’s unpopular to raise taxes–regardless of what party you’re in.

      However, I think the problem with respect to funding is the other way around — the federal gas tax is currently insufficient to fund road expenditures, and the difference is being taken from other revenue sources, thus contributing to higher income tax and increasing deficit.

      A higher federal gas tax would discourage car use, which would decrease the need for road spending. The additional revenue could be used to pay off the deficit and/or lower income tax. The net effect would be to slowly make the federal government shrink in size.

      Perhaps the main reason that politicians at the federal level haven’t raised the gas tax in years is that they are defending big government. I personally support small government and that is one reason I strongly support raising the gas tax.

      1. I agree with 'Common Sense' says:

        People have already cut back driving enormously since a couple of years ago when prices skyrocketed. So, now you believe people should cut back on driving so we don’t wear out the roads? Raise the gas tax in Maryland and people will cut back on extra spending even more than they already have.. That may be a problem for local businesses who will see less money spent at their business, and many are already struggling.

        I’m with the other poster, the money which was allocated for road repair was spent elsewhere and we need accountability.

  6. Wheres common sense when you need it says:

    I am with overtaxed, why isn’t WJZ investigating the funds that have been stolen from the transportation fund? The media is so afraid of telling the truth about what really is going on within the government. It makes me sick. Transportation money is used for walking trails, bike trails, high visibility police cars, budget balancing, ohand if there is anything left, maybe some road construction and repair. Step it up WJZ, tell us where the money goes, if you dare.

  7. mymantan says:

    There is a slow steady rage building in America that one day will erupt at the footsteps of Annapolis & other state capitols as well because of the corporate puppets we have as so called elected officials & their special interest cohorts. Get ready, your day is coming & fast.

  8. Alex Zorach says:

    I personally support raising the gas tax. However, I think that doing so at the federal level is a much better idea than for a small state like MD, which is surrounded by other states, to raise it. Most of the population of MD lives within a short drive of other states and if they raise the tax and surrounding states don’t, they’ll not only lose revenue but they will drive money out of their state.

    The best way to have a gas tax would be to use the federal gas tax to take the burden off states and local government for road funding…ideally, apportioning the money to states in ways that gave them more local control, rather than just having more big federal highway projects (which are often counterproductive, breaking up communities in cities or building unnecessary new highway interchanges while old roads in cities and towns desperately need basic maintenance).

    1. where did it go says:

      So, what happens when the Feds decide to ‘borrow’ the road funds and issue states IOU’s for the repairs. Well, I guess the Feds can just borrow the money till they get it squared away. /s

    2. doug says:

      This is absolutely the wrong idea. Giving tax money to a bloated federal bureaucracy to redistribute to the states guarantees double the inefficiencies and government theft. The government can not resist the opportunity to steal.

      1. Alex Zorach says:

        The problem is, state-level gas taxes just don’t work in most states. Maybe in Arizona where the big metro area, Phoenix, is out of range of any of the state borders…but on the east coast where many of the major metro areas are within a brief drive of 2-3 states, when one state raises the gas tax, it just doesn’t work.

        The last thing I want to see are more tolls. A gas tax may not be ideal, but it’s the fairest way of raising money for roads.

        And honestly? Think about what the alternatives are…using income tax to pay for roads? Going into debt to pay for roads? That’s currently what’s going on. My highest priority tax-wise and fiscal-wise is to lower anti-business taxes like income and payroll tax, and lower the deficit, create a surplus, and pay off the national debt. A gas tax is really a small thing to be quibbling about.

    3. Wheres common sense when you need it says:

      Once everyone realizes there is only one party with two divisions, Rep and Dem. Now, The Federal level of Transportation is a whole different level. They refuse to vote on the new highway funding bill. But this conversation is based on the fact that the State of Maryland steals the money from its transportation fund to balance its own budget because it refuses to stop the intitlements. Everyone thinks the government owes them something and expects it. But thanks to your own comments, this is an easy debate to win. If the Federal Government isn’t giving the state enough money to maintain the highways, then why does the state continue to transfer money from the fund and cry poor? Tax money needs to go to programs the benefit ALL tax payers. Nothing in this country gets done without roads, period, nothing. This benefits everyone. Now all of these “social” programs, which gives certain people the right to live off the system, benefit no one but a few. This money can pay off the debit. How many state government employes make over a hundred grand a year to do nothing? These salaries can pay off debit. How many studies and committes does it take to decide what these officials want for lunch? This money can pay off debit. The list can go on and on. Oh and if everything didn’t cost so much less in surrounding states, maybe more people would stay here. I know, lets buld a fence around Maryland to keep the residents here to protect its tax base……oh, never mind. We all know how good a job government does with border protection. Scratch that………

  9. richard says:

    the state should just add a $5 tax on eacch oriole ticket and a $100 tax on each ravens ticket to raise the money….that way its a voluntary tax….if you dont want to pay the tax dont go to the games…and if the teams dont get attendance the teams will leave town supposedly…so the state will then see that they are taxing us too much…WAY too much

  10. Vince says:

    Raising taxes on gas, alcohol, or tobacco is not necessary, they will only hurt small business. The problem is the public unions and the way they OWN
    O’MALLEY AND HIS CRONIES. Make them apy their share and cut back on unnecessary jobs and you could save millions.
    Also we need to cut the social programs that politicians use to buy votes. Stop being afraid of ACLU and NAACP, their goals are to turn this country into a 3rd world nation.

  11. Where did it go? says:

    Didn’t the Federal Gov borrow trillions of dollars and give it to the states for fixing roads and hiring people to fix the roads as well? They also borrowed money to keep teachers, police, firemen employed, but they are still worried about layoffs around the country. So…where did all the money go? Why are they raising taxes to raise money for road repair if the money was already borrowed for these roads?

  12. Jogar says:

    Hey Zorach,no matter how you slice it, who you put it on,state or federal,any gas tax increase causes an increase in all goods bought by the public. They are brought to the retailers on trucks.trucks that travel 100,000 miles or better miles a year.then we have home medical deliveries,of which I perform to the tune of about 70,000 miles a year.Increase the gas tax,up goes the delivery fee, and up goes your precious health insurance. That’s only two examples,I could go on.You just don’t get it.It’s all about sticking it to the working class so the priviledged can continue their high class way of life.We had a revolution with England for the same basic reason.By the way,increasing the gas tax will not cause less driving,or wear and tear on the roads.If they want to fill the budget gap,stop giving illegals the thousands they get monthly for being criminals in our country.About a year of that and we’d have a budget surplus.

  13. Donald R Manley Sr says:

    As being a Trucker here in Maryland. It’s a shame that people are not seeing how hard it is to just put fuel in my personal car to get back and fouth to work. Then to climb into my truck and need fuel to transport housing supplies, food, building supplies around. When I became a Truck driver Fuel for my Truck was less the reguar gas now it is higher then High octan. What gives there? Desieal is less refined. Truckers pay highway tax. We have to pay higher tolls. We pay for permits to be on the roads and some cases pay to haul certain loads. I feel sorry for the company I work for when I pull from the fuel pump and I hand them a bill for fuel that is over $600.00. All this flows down ward. There will ended up small companys shutting down due to not being able to pay for fuel. So that means there will become more people with out a job. LETS CUT GOVERMENT PEOPLE PAY AND MAKE THEM PAY FOR THERE FUEL AND SEE HOW THEY LIKE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Chris Arwood says:

    I finally found a job, now that’s something to cheer for

    In other news……I don’t know if getting a new official or politician in there will do anything. I still don’t think they know how to balance a budget. Hire a good bookkeeper/accountant maybe? Something? We shouldn’t have to pay for their mistakes. I don’t see our state being the next to strike, as I expect by this July date a few more states will have already did some good protests, but I also don’t see good things happening. If this gets passed in July, the gas is already gonna be about 4.25 a gallon…add 12 cents to that and chaos….full on

  15. Lauren says:

    My husband is the last trucker that was interviewed in the story. Why does our narrow minded government think we only” pay at the pump”? Everything that is purchased has at some point been hauled with NUMEROUS trucks both as raw materials and as finished goods. Think about how many components make up the computer you are looking at right now. Too many people don’t look at the whole picture! Currently we pay over $2800.00 PER WEEK for fuel in 1 truck not to mention the other fees we are made to pay that the general public doesn’t even know about. What if everyone’s tag renewal was over $1400.00 PER YEAR or if you had to pay a “road use fee” of $550.00 per year to the IRS? Not to mention the quarterly bill for fuel tax above and beyond what you already paid “at the pump”. Welcome the “recession” back. We almost made it out of the last one!

  16. Mike says:

    What do you expect from these low-life Politicians. The only thing they know is TAX TAX TAX. Get rid of the ILLEGALS and Anchor babies and we could save Millions of Dollars. But we can’t do that because they are King MOM’S new Friends…..

  17. Ron Faulk says:

    Raise the tax at least $2 a gallon. It will force more goods to be moved by rail which uses 1/3 the fuel trucks use, and will also cause people to be more conservative with fuel (ride share, use public transportation and buy more fuel efficient cars).

    1. Curtis says:

      At the same time putting million of people out of work, putting a strain on a already strained rail system.

  18. rabbit says:

    even if the price reached $4 it would be less than half the current price of everywhere around the world’s gas prices.

  19. Charles Rigdon says:

    I think Maryland should declare war on Washington DC and after they conquer them tax all the politicians for their needs.

  20. Jim says:

    Tax and spend… it is time for change alright!

    1. Robert Whetstone says:

      I guess we could go back to bush’s strategy, cut taxes and spend. how did that work out?

  21. Chester says:

    Gas,diesel,heating oil that has been refined and is in storage tanks at the refinery,in tanks at the gas stations are part of crude oil at a different price. As soon as they think crude oil prices will rise the price of all goes up. All that is in storage should been sold at original price not at the price for crude the are purchasing now. This is PRICE GOUGING no matter what the product. Companies should not be allowed to raise the price until all of the product that made or manufacted is sold.

  22. truckined says:

    Think about this folks. Everybody seems to want more fuel efficient vehicles,right? Well now you are not useing as much fuel, which in turn lowers revenue to the state and federal goverment. In the mean time the state and federal goverment keep spending more. Lets all get on the Scott Walker band wagon, lets not only stop the unions from collective bargaining, but also stop these so called representatives from voting there own raises, let them pay for their own health care, and let them pay for own pensions. That would balance the budget in no time at all.

  23. travelingman says:

    how else can we afford to fight in Libya,were already in two wars we need money

  24. steve says:

    good quit all your crying pay the man

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