By Pat Warren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)— Opposition is growing for Governor Martin O’Malley’s plan for a gas tax increase. Maryland’s chief tax collector is speaking out against the proposal.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on the potential impact of the comptroller’s position.

Democrat Peter Franchot breaks ranks with the Democratic leaders to oppose a gasoline sales tax, calling it a crushing blow to families and small business.

Maryland lawmakers are asked to consider a 6 percent sales tax on gasoline. What Governor O’Malley calls an investment, Comptroller Franchot calls a beat down.

“It would just be a brutal assault on people that can’t afford to pay for this,” Franchot said.

Never the best of allies, Gov. O’Malley and Comptroller Franchot managed to make peace at the Board of Public Works.

“The comptroller is independently elected,” O’Malley said at the Board of Public Works as Franchot sat right next to him. “If he wants to talk about this and wants to ask some questions, he’s going to talk about it and ask some questions.”

But the comptroller’s particular questions concerning the governor’s gas tax increase could turn Maryland taxpayers’ pump woes into a pump war between the chief executive and the state tax collector.

“I’m sounding the alarm,” Franchot said. “I can’t find five people that support the gas tax other than the Senate president, the governor and one or two business elites who are millionaires.”

A group of labor and business leaders made a public show of support for a gas tax last month before the governor’s sales tax plan was revealed.

Senate President Mike Miller considers the comptroller’s position detrimental.

“You know the public is against the gas tax increase, but leaders say ‘Look, folks. We need to help you help yourselves. It’s a quality of life issue. We need to move forward,’ and he’s not helping that one iota,” Miller said.

But Franchot isn’t fazed by the prospect of political fallout.

“I have black and blue marks from my independent positions in the past. I have no problem whatsoever communicating to people that this is a really bad idea and bad timing,” Franchot said.

The comptroller says the state should wait until Maryland’s economic condition is on sound footing. The Senate president says Franchot is a comptroller seeking higher office.

The governor has not yet released details of his plan.

Comments (14)
  1. matt says:

    How about we follow Florida and start drug testing the people on welfare. If they test positive then they are denied welfare and have to wait 12 months to reaply.

    1. tonybaloney says:

      Matt, You’re wrong. The Supreme court ruled down that law in Fla & Mich. as unconstitutional although I happen to agree that these baby mommas who continue to pop out kids should have to be tested along with the coon fathe.r

    2. Ramcsii says:

      First, let me say that I ralley enjoy your blog. I read it religiously. I should comment more often when I agree with you, but, alas, my first comment must express some contrary thoughts.I suspect the reason China’s gas tax increase has not gotten significant press in the West is that the move is not all that significant. As the professors’ proposal notes, the increase brings China’s fuel tax to a level close to the United States which is low in comparison to many EU countries and, I suspect, Japan. In fact, China has significantly reduced its fuel prices within the past two weeks in a bid to reverse flagging auto sales and help fuel dependent industries weather the financial crisis. This move is perfectly understandable and justifiable, but it does not place China in the green vanguard.I think the NYT’s reporting on China is frequently flawed, but the fact that an editorial on gas taxes fails to mention China’s efforts is not ralley surprising. You suggest that the editorial shies away from the fact that the Chinese are one step ahead of Americans in this, yet the professors you quote condemn China for not being one step ahead of the US. The professor’s proposal may be bold, but professors everywhere, everyday are making bold proposals; newspapers can not be faulted if they fail to stay current with the latest press releases from academia. To suggest that editors across the US are killing stories on China’s new gas tax due to their politically oriented attitude in journalism, attributes considerably more sophistication to the motives of American papers than in fact exists. I ralley do not think that they see geopolitical rivalry at play in gas tax hikes. In any event, a quick Google news search picks up pieces by both Reuters and Bloomberg on China’s fuel tax hike. With respect to the Friedman quote, I share your confusion as to what his larger point is. His explicit suggestion, however, seems simply to advocate for the inclusion of citizen suit provisions in China’s environmental laws. I think that would be a good idea, and it would certainly not require regime change or even threaten the stability of the current order.China is moving in the right direction in terms of fuel taxes, but it is not a world leader. There are plenty of areas where China is making progress on the environment. The progress is slow and the steps are incremental, but the skies are not always gray. There may be those in the West who wish to downplay China’s environmental improvements for political reasons, but I don’t think using reporting on the fuel tax hike as a litmus test to determine who these political opponents are will produce valid results.

  2. Wheres common sense when you need it says:

    Wow! How smart is the comptroller! This is the best we got folks! Tax Ol’Malley is slick to pull back on the gas tax issue because the 15 cent a gallon sounds like alot more than the 21 cent…or….ummm…6% sales tax that he wants on every gallon of gas! I think more cuts could be made, starting with the salary of every politician in Annapolis. i wish our government would go ahead and bankrupt all of use aready so we can move on to the next thing.

    1. Stupidity Rules says:

      Amen to that common sense. Well stated.

  3. chearts77 says:

    Can OweMalley seriously not see how raising taxes like this can and will hurt people? We’ll have to pay the gas tax increase, the sales tax added onto gas; AND the increased prices in goods and services. How many times is he gonna hit the “little man/woman” with all these taxes?

  4. MD DAD says:

    It appears like Senate President Michael Bush is about as dumb (like Owe) when it comes to understanding the average Md. citizen’s finances.

  5. hahaha says:

    This is owemalley ‘s way of punishing the working people who did not vote for him. His base walfare and rich will not be affected much by the increase in fuel tax. Tlk about a bully

  6. Jeff says:

    “We need to help you help yourselves. We need to move forward.” Seriously??? You want to help us? Then get out of our way!

    Way to go Mr. Franchot! Keep it up!

  7. Debbie says:

    Look on the bright side. When he taxes us out of money, Maryland has great benefits and handouts so we can join the illegals and third generation welfarers
    and benefit from all the wonderful plans O’Malley has robbed all of our funds and taxpayers to provide to get himself vores Thank you for people like Franchot who actually know how the taxpayers feel.

  8. the mole says:

    This is regressive thinking. The income the state gains in revnue will be offset by people skirting around Md to fill up, moving out of state, etc.Demand for gas is down yet the a-hole wants to raise the tax. Gas should be under $200 a gallon right now.

  9. Trevor Whitlock says:

    The only way Mike Miller can help me help myself is if he stands at the end of a firing range during live exercises. Other than that maybe if he tries a scratch and sniff sticker at the bottom of a pool.

  10. Lerbearp says:

    I am sure you will love mbt for more detail

  11. Nor says:

    Superb post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this cjbuest? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Thank you!

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