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 O’Malley (D) briefly previewed during his State of the State address on Feb. 1, 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 a recent “Annapolis Week” roundtable 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.
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.”
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