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Gas Tax Bill Begins Uphill Climb

O'Malley's bill applying the sales tax to gasoline has precedent, faces challenges.

Legislative leaders on Tuesday introduced Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposal to apply the state’s 6 percent sales tax to gasoline.

Dubbed the “Maryland Transportation Financing and Infrastructure Investment Act of 2012,” the legislation, which , calls for a three-year phase-in of the tax.

The tax “will generate an additional $613 million in revenue to address Maryland’s urgent transportation infrastructure needs and support an estimated 7,500 jobs for Maryland families,” according to a news release from O’Malley’s office. Transportation infrastructure needs include roads, bridges and public transit projects.

The proposal could be a tough sell, O’Malley himself admitted in the State of the State. Reporters appearing on on MarylandReporter.com assessed just how tough it could be. (See the 2:28 mark.)

The Maryland Republican Party has launched an online campaign to “Stop the Gas Tax.”

With support from county governments key to the bill’s passage, The Baltimore Sun reported on Tuesday that “Gov. Martin O'Malley is offering local governments a significant sweetener — more money for local road projects — as part of an effort to secure their support for his proposal to apply the state's 6 percent sales tax to gasoline.”

Tying a gas tax to the sales tax—something that about 15 states already do—has proven successful in raising revenue, while being controversial, Stateline.org reported.

Often, lawmakers feel pressure to stop them, even if the only thing that needs to happen for an increase to go into effect is for elected officials to do nothing at all,” Stateline.org reported.

And a gas tax pegged to sales tax isn’t always enough.

“Last year, in a controversial move, Nebraska lawmakers voted to redirect a portion of the state’s sales tax to transportation starting in 2013,” Stateline.org reported. “In doing so, they were conceding that the gas tax wasn’t bringing in enough money to pay for what they wanted.”

What do you think of O'Malley's gas tax proposal? Weigh in with .

Sara Greene February 15, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Here's a thought. How about O'Malley stop taking money out of each Marylander's pocket and stop all this spending on things we can live without. His spending appetite is second to none. He has increased taxes on everything possible and it will never ever be enough for him. WORST GOVERNOR EVER BY FAR!
roger perez February 15, 2012 at 02:40 PM
TAX,TAX,TAX,TAX,TAX! They are all out of hand! every day there is an absurd tax or charge on us in maryland or montgomery county! We cant take much more of this people! I am speaking to those of us who are and have been struggling for past five years and whom used to be considered middle class and are now barely surviving paycheck to paycheck with a family of five and a massive loss of income. Pretty soon we will be taxed on the type of shoes we are wearing or that our hairstyle isnt trendy enough... Point being is that we have allowed too much for too long. ENOUGH! already. We have to put a stop to this garbage now! I dont know sarah Greene but the spending and taxing she is speaking of is spot on!
Jeff Hawkins February 15, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Sara & Roger: Gotta get out and vote, encourage others to do the same. The deck is kind of stacked, but it can be done. This really is the ONLY way to do it............shake it up..... I'm not advocating which Party to vote for...........just vote against the "usual suspects".
Jordan February 15, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Even without a gas tax, I've heard estimates that gas prices could surpass $4 per gal this summer. With an additional gas tax on top of the sales tax, it will be prohibitive to fuel up in Maryland. As more and more residents go to Virginia to top off their tanks once a week, this bill could have a detrimental effect on Maryland gas stations. Unfortunately, this hurts lower-income and middle-class working people the most, as they have no choice about the daily drive to work. This sounds more like an effort to coerce people onto public transportation, and get cars off the road. Sadly, for some workers, public transit doesn't meet their needs, and they will have to cut their own spending elsewhere on life's essentials. A better solution would be for O'Malley to identify the many unnecessary programs and freebies Maryland provides and cut them, making money available for this expenditure.
Elizabeth Forbes Wallace February 15, 2012 at 04:48 PM
I had to buy a car to make it to/from work for a $10 an hour job that I landed after 1 year of looking. I started the job less than 1 month ago. Last night I heard that the job is always phased out after shortly after the store opening. And I wanted to be car-less. I wanted to be rid of insurance, ride Metro and use Zipcar. Now I have a car and probably no job. I might be "ok" with the tax as long as I see a list of the 7500 jobs up front and see if I could apply and actually get one of them.
Sara Greene February 15, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Liz, you say "you might be ok with the tax as long as I see a list of the 7500 jobs up front and see if I could apply and actually get one of them." Exactly how far do you think your $10 or whatever an hour job paycheck will go after the following happens. Every product, every service, every business uses gas to accomplish goals. Some businesses will fail, people will get laid-off, and the businesses that absorb the tax will pass the cost on to you in higher costs for everything. So, not only will you be taxed at the pump, this is a multi layer tax in which you will be taxed from every direction possible. It's a failure for everyone across the board. O'Malley isn't capable of managing a household budget much less a state's. Anyone who supports this tax probably got an 'F' in Economics 101 or a career politician like O'Malley, born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
Jordan February 16, 2012 at 02:17 PM
There's not going to be any job creation as long as taxes keep sucking up every bit of cash lying around. If you want job growth, increasing taxes is not the answer.
Sean R. Sedam February 16, 2012 at 05:02 PM
In case you missed it, Gov. O'Malley's office noted that the guv received a shout-out on his gas tax legislation in yesterday's New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/16/opinion/belling-the-no-new-taxes-cat-in-maryland.html?ref=opinion
Jeff Hawkins February 16, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Thanks for the link Sean. This confirms my suspicion that we are doomed..... What's next? An endorsement from Marion Berry?
James Moulden March 15, 2012 at 10:44 AM
I have lived in Montgomery County MD. for 60 years. My family goes back to the 1700s in Rockville. When you smoke you have to buy in VA. If I do not want to pay for a bag I shop out of county or state. I pay more for electric and fuel oil in Montgomery County. Now I will buy my gas in VA. Wonder why so many business and people are moving out of MD. and to VA.

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