Reporting Pat Warren
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland lawmakers appear to be moving closer to a gas tax increase, despite voter disapproval.
Political reporter Pat Warren explains the roads are the reason.
Politics mixed with the price at the pump. In late April, a blue ribbon commission began exploring the possibility of a gas tax increase.
“There is one tax that the business community universally supports. Doesn’t matter what slice of it or where you are, and that is the gas tax,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “And there is one tax and that the general public universally and unanimously opposes—that is the gas tax.”
Drivers already squeezed between price increases at the pump and economic woes see it as a hardship.
“People are struggling to get by,” said one driver.
Drivers are already taxed 23.5 cents a gallon and could see it increased by between five and 10 cents a gallon.
Despite protests earlier this year, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that it’s coming up again, but not likely when the General Assembly meets in special session next month.
“We shouldn’t be raising taxes or making major budget decisions during the special session. We need to wait and see what the federal government does,” said Senator Jim Rosapepe.
Lawmakers expect to re-enter the debate in the regular session next year.
Maryland’s gas tax hasn’t increased since the early 1990s. That argument was used to increase a liquor tax, but it may not work the same way since gasoline is a necessity and not a luxury.
The state transportation secretary says paying for the number one priorities in each of the state’s 24 jurisdictions would cost $12 billion.