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Protesters Rally In Catonsville Against Governor’s Proposed Gas Tax Hike

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CATONSVILLE, Md. (WJZ)– Gas tax controversy. The battle against the governor’s proposal to raise it is heating up.

Weijia Jiang has the latest on how taxpayers are fighting back.

Each stroke is fueled by anger over the governor’s proposal to raise the gas tax.

“The guy has no understanding of what’s going on,” one protester said of Governor Martin O’Malley.

Saturday morning, dozens of protesters lined Route 40 in Catonsville and waved signs at drivers who shared their frustration.

“People just started pulling up in the parking lot asking if they could sign the petition, asking if we had more signs, showing up with homemade signs,” Steve Bailey of the national political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity said.

Hundreds signed a petition against the bill, which would apply the state’s six percent sales tax to gasoline at a two percent a year rate.

“What we know for sure is we’re all going to pay more if we do nothing,” O’Malley said.

But gas station owners say they’ll pay the highest price. Hafix Habibullah worries he’ll have to shut down.

“Gas prices go high, business is low, lots of people going out of business because it’s not affordable,” gas station owner Habibullah said.

The governor has gotten little support. Even Maryland’s comptroller is blasting the hike.

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

Now, taxpayers are calling for other elected leaders to step up.

“We think if enough people from Catonsville call and tell Senator (Edward) Kasemeyer about the gas tax increase, he’ll get the message, too,” Bailey said.

Sen. Kasemeyer is the chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. His constituents are urging him to keep it off the Senate floor.

Senate President Mike Miller says the bill is on the back burner for now and may not be taken up until late in the session.

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