Md. Lawmakers Discuss Gas, Alcohol Tax Increases

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—Maryland taxpayers are watching to see if they’ll be paying more for gasoline and alcohol.

Tax increases are still a possibility, but as political reporter Pat Warren explains, some lawmakers want to make them harder to get.

Tax makers versus taxpayers. It’s easy to lose sight that it’s all for the greater good.Some say they’ve had enough.

“Maryland right now is the fourth highest taxed state in the union. I think they’re pushing for No. 1,” said Gary Brooks, Barley and Hops Microbrewery.

The House of Delegates has worked on the budget with no tax increases, but there are no guarantees.

 “A gas tax increase or an alcohol tax increase or a snack tax increase or a utility tax increase–all of those are still on the table in the General Assembly today,” said E.J. Pipkin.

 State Senator Pipkin proposes taking some of the pressure off taxpayers to pay and putting it on the tax makers to make by replacing the simple majority needed for passage with a super majority– 3/5ths of both the House and Senate– to get any new tax passed on to you.

“I would hope that kills all of them,” Pipkin said.

House Speaker Michael Busch sees little likelihood of a gas tax increase this year, but alcohol is still on call.

“The alcohol beverage tax has been debated back and forth,” Busch said. “We can balance the budget without it, but it’s getting a lot of scrutiny.”

“If they had to get a 3/5ths majority it would be very difficult to pass them, that’s the way it should be,” Pipkin said.

You know what else will be difficult? Pipkin getting his bill passed. This is the second year he’s introduced it.

The General Assembly has to close a $ 1.2 billion budget deficit.

The bill is a constitutional amendment that would require voter approval.

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