Saturday, April 30, 2011

MD Dem Gov. Considers Gas Tax HIKE!

Pain at the pump. If you think gas prices are high now, there is a plan that could push them even higher.

WJZ-TV Political Reporter Pat Warren tells us a hike in the gas tax could be just down the road.

A failed effort to increase the state tax on gasoline during the regular General Assembly session doesn't mean the idea has gone away. The prospect of another bill may be proposed in a special session.

That's right. Governor Martin O'Malley held a roundtable discussion on the transportation trust fund on Friday. And wouldn't you know it, the gas tax came up.

This is where the rubber meets the road, and the wheel, and the axle and sometimes the muffler.

A plan to raise the state gas tax to cover road construction and repair was shot down in the General Assembly this session. As voters watched the price of gasoline go up and up, lawmakers backed off a plan to add their 12 cents to the existing 23.5 cents Marylanders already pay.

But that may not be the end of it. A special session in the fall could give the General Assembly another chance to pass it. But it may still be a long shot.

"There is one tax that the business community universally supports and that doesn't matter what slice of it where you are and that is the gas tax. And there is one tax that the general public universally and unanimously opposes regardless of black neighborhood, white neighborhood, north, south, east and west and that is the gas tax," O'Malley said.

But then, thousands of miles of bumpy roads could cause taxpayers to soften.

"I guess it depends on how much we're talking," said Katy Johnson. "It might be worth it. The roads definitely need to be improved."

The money the state collects from the gas tax goes into the transportation trust fund, but that fund has been steadily depleted to cover budget deficits and put us on a bad road.

The General Assembly has to meet in a special session this fall to re-draw the lines for voting districts.

And when in session, other bills can come up.

Prices at the pump are creeping closer to the $4 mark. The WJZ pump watch shows we're paying an average of $3.92 a gallon here in Baltimore. That's more than 30 cents higher than prices last month.