New Gas Tax Rate

This headline summarizes another tax increase from Annapolis, but more information must be shared. I want to provide some context.

Over the last two years, the gas tax rate has increased by 30%. In 2013, the extremists in Annapolis passed the first increase in the gas tax in more than two decades, which included an automatic increase every year tied to the Consumer Price Index - CPI - or inflation. As of this July 1st, the total state gas tax will go up to 47.8 cents per gallon, making Maryland the fourth-highest fuel tax in the nation.  It is simply infuriating to see politicians raise taxes year after year without having to justify the need for the tax increase or even to have a recorded vote on it.

The chart below shows the historical amounts of the gas tax. It is interesting to note that the Maryland gas tax has doubled since 2013.  It has increased as much in the last decade (2013 to today) as in the previous 91 years (1912-2013) combined.  This is unsustainable.

I have continued introducing a bill and offering amendments from the House floor to correct this problem and stop those automatic increases. My amendment last session would have saved Maryland motorists from an estimated $62.5 million tax increase this year alone and $570 million over the next five years.

On a side note, it is disappointing to see some Republicans vote against stopping an automatic tax increase. You would think this is the one thing Republicans could unite on,


but you'd be wrong. This shows you the amount of control the Democrats wield in Annapolis and the cowardice in the Maryland Republican ranks.  (More on this topic at another time.) Here is a link to the vote in the House on the gas tax amendment:

This automatic tax increase hurts consumers and makes our state much less competitive. Do you ever wonder why the Super Walmart Dahlgren, VA parking lot is filled with Maryland license plates? One reason is the gas across the bridge is so much cheaper. Virginia has a much more advanced transportation infrastructure than Maryland. Virginia has also raised their gas tax in recent years to pay for this infrastructure, however, at a much slower rate than Maryland. As of July 1st, Virginia's gas tax will be 29.8 cents per gallon, which is 18 cents per gallon cheaper than Maryland's. 

Every time I mention stopping the automatic gas tax increase, the first reply I usually receive is a comment from someone concerned about money to fix the roads and bridges. I also share those concerns, so give me a chance to address that issue.

State money to repair roads and bridges typically comes from the Transportation Trust Fund. The overwhelming source of money for that special fund comes from the gas tax, and by the way, other than tag and title charges, electric vehicles contribute $0 to this special fund. Yet, with recent commitments to the Washinton Area Metro System to help repair an over-bloated metro system and the consistent mismanagement of the MARC train system, 61% of the Transportation Trust Fund is spent on mass transit. If you live in Southern Maryland, the closest metro is in Prince Georges's County. This means that most of your tax dollars go to a transportation system you do not use, and the situation will likely worsen.

Promising more trains seems like a campaign promise from 1872, but that is exactly what Governor Wes Moore is promising for Baltimore City. Last week the Governor had a press conference pledging commitment to the boondoggle Red Line metro project for Baltimore City. This is the same project that Governor Hogan rightfully stopped in 2015. The estimated cost of the Red Line project is more than $9.3 billion dollars. The Governor did leave himself enough wiggle room in the announcement, so we will have to wait to see what the new plan will entail and the necessary fiscal commitment.

I believe it is unfair that hard-working Marylanders who rely on their cars to go to work or take their kids to school are not receiving the same tax relief as mass transit riders and owners of electric vehicles. The automatic gas tax increase is a hidden and unfair burden to Marylanders, significantly impacting our state's competitiveness. This problem must be addressed so Maryland can make meaningful investments in infrastructure and public transportation without creating an undue financial burden on its citizens. I will continue fighting to stop this automatic tax increase so hard-working Marylanders can keep more of their hard-earned money. It is time for Maryland to take a stand against this unfair tax and ensure that our transportation system meets the needs of all Marylanders.

Let's work together to bring relief to Maryland's citizens and create a fairer, more economically vibrant state for everyone.