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Taxi & Limo Drivers Furious About Baltimore’s New Per-Passenger Tax

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Meghan McCorkell 370x278 Meghan McCorkell
Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Tax revolt! Cab and limo drivers are firing back at the city of Baltimore, refusing to pay a new per-passenger tax that started last month. But city officials say they need the money.

Meghan McCorkell has more on how it could eventually come out of your pocket.

That tax–which started Oct. 1–would charge 25 extra cents per passenger.

Many cab and limo company owners say they were blindsided.

Cab and limousine drivers are putting the brakes on a new city tax.

“We can’t pay this tax. It’s simply not possible,” said Mark Thistel, the owner of FreedomCar.

He says he had no clue about the new per-passenger tax until nine days after it took effect and says complying would take months.

“None of us have any way to track which vehicles we send into the city on a daily basis and how many passengers those vehicles are carrying,” he said.

One taxi driver–who didn’t want to be identified–says the tax will hit him hard.

“If I get a fare of $3 ride fare…if I get one passenger, I make 2.75 cents. If I’ve got four passengers, I make two bucks. It doesn’t make sense,” he said.

City officials estimate the new tax could raise $1.3 million a year.

“The general fund takes care of our fire, our police,” said Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke. “It goes toward renovating our schools.”

She is proposing legislation to delay the tax implementation six months to give companies a chance to comply.

“It’s all about how do you keep count of all the people when you have so many vehicles and drivers and trips going on,” she said.

The extra fees could eventually be passed along to passengers.

“If it’s just 25 cents, it’s no big deal to me,” said taxi rider Jai Belagur. “As long as the cabs are clean and safe.”

But for now, drivers say they won’t pay.

Councilwoman Clarke will introduce her bill to delay the tax on Monday.

The companies are required to pay the taxes for last month by Nov. 25. If they don’t, city officials say the companies will be referred to the Bureau of Revenue Collections.

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