O’Malley Continues To Push For Gas Tax Increase

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A gas tax increase got another airing in the General Assembly Tuesday. Members of key House committees were briefed on the makings of a jobs creation package Governor Martin O’Malley intends to win approval for next year.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports the O’Malley administration made a case for job creation with a gas tax increase but it’s not easy to sell.

Pumpwatch is now a national pastime but in Maryland, while folks are pinching pennies, some politicians are pitching a gas tax increase to put people back to work.

“I think it’s high enough already but if it’s creating jobs, it may end up to be a good thing ’cause I know we need more jobs. A lot of people are still unemployed,” Jennifer Stockett said.

“It’s not a Democratic idea or a Republican idea that in order to create jobs, a modern economy requires modern investments,” O’Malley said.

But even cloaked in the promise of employment, for Marylanders like Rob Perdue, a gas tax hike has all the appeal of lipstick on a pig.

“I’m against it. Gas is starting to creep up now as it is. It’s really going to hurt consumers, I think,” he said.

Antonio Staffiero feels gas prices are too unstable to risk a tax increase.

“I’d like to see more people get jobs, obviously, but you know, to add more taxes to what we already have, it’s too unpredictable,” Staffiero said.

Legislative committees are slogging through reports and testimony that support the administration’s position.

“That public investment creates significant private sector jobs,” O’Malley said.

The governor’s transportation commission is recommending a 15 cents a gallon tax hike. The figure is negotiable.

The governor is using this special session as a sounding board for legislation under consideration for 2012.

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