Skip to comments.Maryland assembly may put off gas-tax hike
Posted on 09/15/2011 5:54:12 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
ANNAPOLIS A Senate leader in the Democrat-controlled General Assembly said Wednesday that a proposal to increase the states gas tax might get shelved during its 2012 session because of anticipated budget woes and public outcry.
Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Chairman Edward J. Kasemeyer, Baltimore County Democrat, said legislators will likely have their hands full attempting to close an anticipated $1 billion budget shortfall and might not get around to considering a proposal to raise the 23.5-cents-a-gallon excise tax.
A state-appointed commission recommended last week that lawmakers pass $520 million in tax and fee increases to fund improvements to aging road and transit infrastructure.
The state has not raised its gas tax since 1992, but opponents of an increase contend it will burden residents already dealing with tough economic times.
All of us realize that to have a vibrant transportation infrastructure program, you need to add new revenues, Mr. Kasemeyer said after a committee hearing Wednesday. But it boils down to: How much can the average person deal with when theyre unemployed or making less money than they used to make?
He also said the General Assembly is unlikely to have a gas-tax increase unless it or alternate tax increases are included in Gov. Martin O'Malleys proposed budget.
While some legislators support a gas-tax increase, such a proposal has struggled to gain traction in other states and in Maryland, where the assembly this year failed to pass a 10-cents-a-gallon increase.
Lawmakers initially entertained thoughts of revisiting the plan during this Octobers special redistricting session but are unlikely to do so, Mr. Kasemeyer said.
Supporters of an increase contend that transportation funds are sorely needed, and that the need will only grow if Congress makes widely anticipated cuts to its local transportation funding.
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