By Pat Warren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—Get ready to pay more at the pump. Maryland’s gas tax takes another hike, the second  in two years.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on how this and other tax increases could influence voters this election year.

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Even the Democrats acknowledge that the O’Malley administration’s tax increases are a sensitive subject with voters, and the Republican candidates for governor are making the most of it.

The state tax on gasoline goes up again next month.

“It sucks, to put it plainly. It’s too high now,” said Bruce McComas, voter.

And the fact that it’s a state tax rankles, especially in an election year.

Voter Shirley Matzdorf lumps it in with all O’Malley administration tax increases.

“I think Maryland is so taxed it’s unreal, and I am one of that 47 percent who is thinking about moving out of Maryland. We’re overtaxed for everything. We really are,” Matzdorf said.

Maryland’s Republican candidates for governor agree.

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“The gas tax is going up July 1 and it’s just a continuation of what we’ve seen for the past eight years. Forty consecutive tax hikes have taken $9.5 billion out of the pockets of struggling Maryland families and small businesses,” said Larry Hogan.

GOP candidate Ron George is himself a small businessman.

“We don’t have entry-level, mid-level. We’re losing our young people and the elderly are leaving. And it’s heartbreaking,” George said.

Harford County Executive David Craig has seen the bleed in his county.

“A lot of good people leaving, a lot of small businesses leaving. So the main thing is to actually lower taxes and provide tax relief for the people,” Craig said.

Once the state is past the primary, taxes may be the great equalizer between Democrats and Republicans in the general election.

GOP primary candidate Charles Lollar’s campaign did not return our calls Tuesday.

The primary election is June 24. Early voting begins June 12.

The gas tax jumped 4 cents a gallon last year, with incremental increases scheduled for each year.

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