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Pump Pressure & Transportation Troubles: O’Malley Proposes Higher Taxes On Gas

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O'Malley Gas Tax Plan
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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Governor Martin O’Malley is pushing a controversial proposal for a new tax on gas that could go as high as 16 cents a gallon in the next three years. But what does it really mean for you?

Mike Hellgren breaks it down.

Sedan driver Leroy Scott says he can’t afford a proposal backed by the governor and General Assembly leaders to create a new sales tax on gas.

“It’s ridiculous. I can just barely pay for the gas I get in the sedan now, let alone seven more cents,” Scott said.

Related Link: O’Malley’s Plan

But Governor O’Malley says it’s needed to ease congestion and pay for big mass transit projects like the red line through Baltimore. The bill would tax every gallon two cents starting this July, then another seven cents on top of that next year—and it could go up another seven cents in 2015.

“Every area of the state can benefit from this. Every area has a transportation system,” said House Speaker Michael Busch.

The money doesn’t just come from that new sales tax. The current gas tax would be restructured. Right now, it’s 23.5 cents a gallon. It would initially go down five cents but would be tied to inflation, which would make it go right back up in just a few years.

“I hope consumers rise up,” said Pete Horrigan, Mid-Atlantic Petroleum Distributors Association. “Call the governor’s office and say, `Hey, we don’t like this. This is going to hurt.'”

But not every consumer sees it that way.

Gina Peltier drives from Montgomery County. For her, it’s an investment.

“I’m all in favor of improving our roads because we have to commute so far to work,” Peltier said. “I’m willing to pay the extra tax myself for that.”

The governor says the money would go in a lock box solely for transportation but the bill offers wiggle room in an emergency.

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