Lawmakers Consider Adding Sales Tax To Gas Prices

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Governor Martin O’Malley’s gas tax proposal makes it harder for the state to use transportation dollars to supplement other needs. A bill to apply the state’s sales tax to the price of gasoline is set to go before the General Assembly.

Pat Warren reports on some of the specifics.

Keeping pace with the price of gasoline and the demands for roads to run on is a balancing act that is putting lawmakers and taxpayers at odds.

“We feel that the taxes on gasoline in Maryland are already high enough,” said one.

The governor wants to apply the state’s six percent sales tax at two percent a year and install a braking mechanism to stop collections if gas prices increase 15 percent over a year. It limits any raid on the transportation trust fund to cover other state expenses by requiring a three-fifths majority vote in the General Assembly and the treasurer’s approval. The state would also have to stop collecting the six percent tax until the money is transferred back into the fund.

Last week, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot blasted the tax hike, calling it a crushing blow to families.

“The opponents are many but the truth is a stubborn thing and the truth of our situation, our shared situation is we will all pay more if we do nothing and so what we have to figure out as a free and thinking people is whether there might be better choices that we can make together, that maybe a few cents now on a percentage basis will be dollars that actually benefit us long-term,” said O’Malley.

Lawmakers can expect to be briefed in the next few days.

Marylanders currently pay a 23.5 cents a gallon tax on gasoline.

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