Saturday, March 23, 2013

Maryland House Approves Gas Tax Hike

The Maryland House of Delegates voted 78-56 in favor of a transportation bill proposed by Governor O'Malley which includes a gas tax hike. 

The bill would add a 1% sales tax to gasoline starting in July 2013.  This tax would increase to 3% over three years with an additional trigger to increase by an additional 2% of the US Congress does not pass an internet sales tax. In addition the bill would peg the existing 23.5 cent per gallon flat tax to inflation, causing it to automatically increase in future years with no additional legislative action required.

The Washington Post reported that the total gas tax increase would be between 13 and 20 cents per gallon by 2016, and that the bill would raise $4.4billion in new revenues for roads and mass transit projects over six years, including additional borrowing.

"I am pleased that the House of Delegates acted today to create jobs by passing a 21st century infrastructure investment plan." wrote Governor O'Malley "The investment plan the House passed today is balanced, fiscally responsible and will support 44,000 jobs over the next five years."

Some State lawmakers were not happy with the bill.  A press release by Delegate Glen Glass stated that "most of this revenue will go to public transit – not to highways.  Highway spending in 2008 was $239 million while transit was $750 million. In this year’s budget, highway spending is $228 million and transit is up to $965 million."   “This tax wouldn’t even be necessary if we would not have raided 1 billion from the transportation trust fund”, Delegate Glass Lamented.

WBAL reported that house Republicans walked out of the chamber en-mass to protest the vote.

The bill and the tax increase will need to pass in the Senate in order to become law.

Additional Coverage
Washington Post
WBALTV O'Malley's Maryland gas tax proposal unpopular with Washington County legislators Gas tax hike on fast track as House gives preliminary OK