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Md. Lawmakers To Attempt Another Gas Tax Hike

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Maryland lawmakers are expected to take another crack at raising the state’s gasoline tax.

Political reporter Pat Warren asks drivers what they think of that.

The road to a gas tax increase is about as bumpy as the roads it’s intended to fix. Drivers, already squeezed between price increases at the pump and the overall economic woes, see a hike as a hardship.

“Especially at this time of the economy, you know people are struggling to get by,” Jason Vollmer said.

Lawmakers are looking for ways to raise another $800 million a year for roads and highway projects. Drivers now taxed 23.5 cents a gallon could see that raised between five and 10 cents a gallon. Tacking the 6 percent state sales tax to the wholesale price is another option.

“I do think it would be a bit of hardship,” Vollmer said.

But taxpayers have every reason to expect another run at it next year.

“They plan to raise the gas tax, they’re going to expand sales tax to services. There’s a number, I mean, there’s at least five or six things,” said Maryland State Senator Nancy Jacobs.

“I have been in favor for a long time of gradually increasing the gas tax in the state of Maryland,” Morris Segall, an economic advisor with SPG Trend Advisor, said.

Segall tells WJZ, Maryland needs the money, but any tax increase would have to be done gradually.

If you throw on top of a very fragile economy, added costs for businesses and consumers, they’re going to pull their horns in,” he explained. “They’re already depressed.”

Even so, some are already expecting it.

“I gotta pay it,” said driver Jacob Smith. “Hopefully, the state will use the money for the streets and everything else that needs to be fixed up. People are going to complain about it, but we gotta to get it paid.”

Considering all the attention it’s getting, it’s becoming clear that the state will raise the tax on gasoline. The only questions are: by how much and when.

There is no formal proposal for a gas tax increase as yet.

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