Sunday, July 20, 2014

Maryland Taxes, Fees on Drivers Greatly Increased in Last Four Years

Costs imposed on motorists by the state of Maryland have been increased greatly over the past four years, with many taxes, tolls, and fees increased 50% or more.

In 2013, the members of the state legislature voted to increase vehicle registration surcharges, and to increase the gas tax increase.  The gas tax increase was set to phase in over several years.  If all increases go into effect the total increase will be 20 cents per gallon by 2016 on top of the 23.5 cent per gallon state gas tax previously in effect (an 86% increase).  However the schedule for the phased in increases ensured that most of the additional tax would be applied after this year's elections.

Additionally, the bill shielded the administration and state legislature from having to vote for future gas tax increases, by causing the gas tax to automatically increase with the consumer price index.

In the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2011, the O'Malley/Brown Administration and the state legislature acted to double the certificate of title fees from $50 to $100.  Vanity Plate fees were also increased from $25 to $50.  The vehicle dealer processing charge was tripled from $100 to $300, and the "vendor dealer credit" was reduced from 1.2% to 6%.

Additionally, Maryland saw substantial toll increases.  For example, crossing the bay bridge increased from $4 to $6 (a 50% increase).  Tolls also went into effect on the newly completed ICC, where the cost of a full one way trip is about $4 during rush hour.  Motorists who wish to use the ICC without an EZ-Pass are charged an additional 50% fee.

Toll rates are set by the Maryland Transit Authority and did not require the legislature's approval.  Members of the MDTA's governing body were appointed by Governor O'Malley and approved by the state senate.