ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– A proposed state sales tax increase is back in play. Gov. Martin O’Malley floated the idea in January, and as political reporter Pat Warren explains, now it’s back as an alternative to adding the sales tax to the price of gasoline.

Another penny on your dollar out of your pocket and into the state’s.

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“And dedicate that penny to our transportation needs,” Gov. O’Malley said.

O’Malley says raising the tax Marylanders pay on just about everything but food would avoid applying the sales tax to gasoline.

“I always thought that the most unpopular thing is whenever you combine the word ‘gas’ with the word ‘tax’ even when it’s applying the sales tax,” he said.

And the higher gas prices go, the more unpopular it becomes. O’Malley thinks the less unpopular approach is to drop the gas tax plan and raise the sales tax from six to seven percent.

Warren: “What do you think?”
Margaret Don: “I think that might hurt people less than the tax on gasoline.”
Warren: “Which one do you like better?”
Jim Don: “I’d go with the tax on gasoline.”

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“I think it’s a tax that could disproportionately affect people more the gas tax one than the sales tax,” Jim Milko said.

“We pay enough on gas, we pay enough on sales tax. He’s (Gov. O’Malley) gotta find his money somewhere else,” Martha McCann.

“The governor talked about an increase in the sales tax. Personally, I don’t think that would work,” Senate President Mike Miller said.

Miller says the gas tax is still on the table. Governor O’Malley say he’s open to whatever, short of nothing.

“The fact of the matter is, by letting traffic get worse and worse, you’re already condemned to paying more by doing nothing,” O’Malley said.

If the transportation funding is not resolved by midnight Monday, the question becomes: Will Gov. O’Malley order a special session? He jokingly replied, “Every session is special.”

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The 2012 regular session ends April 9.