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Delegates Say Gas Tax is 'Terrible Idea'

Carroll County Delegates Justin Ready, Susan Krebs and Nancy Stocksdale agree that a gas tax is a bad idea.

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposal to apply a 6 percent sales tax on gasoline over three years is not popular with Carroll County Delegates.

Delegate Nancy Stocksdale, R-District 5A, said "the gas tax is a terrible idea."

The proposed legislation phases in a 6 percent sales tax on motor fuel at 2 percent each year for three years that 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.

Stocksdale said that gas prices are already too high.

"Everything we buy is delivered by trucks, so a gas tax will make the cost of everything go up," Stocksdale said.

Delegate Justin Ready, R-District 5A, agreed, adding that working families are already struggling to make ends meet.

"Working families, particularly those who are at or around the poverty line in Carroll County cannot afford another burden on their wallets," Ready told Patch. 

"Making ends meet is tough enough for families and gas prices are not getting any lower already.  When you raise the gas tax, it’s not just pain at the pump, it’s painful at the grocery store, the clothing outlet and the home improvement stores."

Over the past several years, local transportation revenue funds have been reduced; according to a news release from Gov. O'Malley, this legislation restores transportation aid to local governments.

When fully phased in and combined with highway user revenues, the revenue generated from the gas sales tax will restore both municipalities and Baltimore City to approximately 71 percent of their 2008 funding levels and will restore the counties to nearly half (42 percent) of their 2008 funding level, according to Gov. O'Malley's website.

But Ready said that money is regularly "siphoned away" from the state's Transportation Trust Fund and used in the state's general fund. He added that of the money in the Transportation Fund that is actually used for transportation, "a large percentage goes to mass transit, which only about 3-4 percent of Marylanders use regularly."

"We need to get back to using the lion’s share of gas tax money on roads and bridges before I could even think about raising the gas tax," Ready said.

Delegate Susan Krebs, R-District 9B, said that she has proposed a Transportation Trust Fund Protection Act to keep transportation revenues in the Transportation Trust Fund.

"I have proposed each year the Transportation Trust Fund Protection Act, a constitutional amendment that would prohibit the shifting of funds from the Transportation Trust Fund to the General Fund and ensure that the current fees and taxes collected from Maryland motorists go to our roads," Krebs said.

No hearing date for the bill has been set yet.

"There are fewer taxes that will impact Maryland families as negatively as an increase in the gasoline tax," Krebs said.

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