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Maryland to Take Another Look at Raising the Gas Tax

A bill to raise gas taxes in Maryland died in committee during the 2012 session, but state and county lawmakers are asking to try again.

When the General Assembly returns to Annapolis in January, one topic state and county lawmakers hope gets raised is the gas tax, according to The Baltimore Sun.

The 23.5-cents-a-gallon gas tax along with titling taxes and registration fees are supposed to provide enough money for transit projects like new highways, according to The Sun.

Analysts project that all the funds collected for the capital spending program will only go to "system preservation" by 2018.

According to WTOP, this is due to the fact that the gas tax hasn't been raised since 1992, and that the General Assembly has repeatedly raided the transportation fund in order to balance its budget.

In 2011, a Blue Ribbon Commission recommended increasing taxes on gas to help raise $800 million in annual funding for the Maryland Transportation Trust Fund, according to WTOP.

The commission also recommended a constitutional amendment prohibiting the assembly from balancing its budget with money from the Transportation Trust Fund.

In March, Gov. Martin O'Malley pushed for a sales tax on gasoline during his State of the State speech.

"With a growing population and aging infrastructure, we might soon pay an even steeper price," O'Malley said. "Bridges are not like trees. They do not grow broader and stronger with age."

Opponents of O'Malley's proposal argued that his sales tax would have raised the price of a gallon of gas by 18 cents per gallon. Republicans voiced their concerns—arguing that the revenue could be raised without a tax increase.

The bill didn't even make it out of committee.

It is unclear how much a new gas tax increase might raise prices at the pump.

O'Malley told reporters in December that he hopes there is political will for the tax during the 2013 session, but state business leaders, state lawmakers and county officials want something more concrete.

Gus Bauman, who chaired the 2011 commission, told WTOP that he's heard that kind of lip service before. 

House Speaker Mike Busch (D-Annapolis) told The Baltimore Sun that he wants to wait until the federal government reaches a decision on the fiscal cliff before he begins looking at raising state taxes.

What do you think about the proposed tax?

Nancy Lee Hall December 26, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Maryland needs to just stop this crap we need a new governor he has done enough damage!!!!
Deb Daly December 27, 2012 at 12:04 PM
We are already being taxed too much. Enough already. Delaware is looking better and better.
Dale T. Read December 27, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Please do NOT raise the taxes at that level, especially until the US economy becomes stronger! We just moved from Mecklenburg County, NC where the gasoline and other county taxes were prohibitive, and it really hurt our ability to commmute, to shop, and just to get around even. If taxes are going to increase then make it incremental such as 8 cents or 10 cents at first and increase over time. How about our incomes going up first?
Steve December 27, 2012 at 01:09 PM
This is definitely not the time. Two party system is ruining our country. Sure out America to work...get it all back in taxes.
Conlyn December 29, 2012 at 03:27 PM
A tax on gasoline would not be necessary if the general fund didn't raid the gas tax fund. If the roads and bridges aren't maintained the gas tax and everyone will suffer because people won't be able to go anywhere.

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